R.I. jobless rate declines to 3.6% in Sept.

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady at 3.6% in September, a 0.3 percentage point decrease year over year and reflecting no change from the previous month, according to the R.I. Department of Labor and Training on Thursday.

This September’s unemployment rate rose just above the national jobless rate of 3.5% after hovering below it in August.

Rhode Island’s labor force dropped by 700 people from September 2018 to a total of 555,300 in September but increased 900 people from this August.

The number of employed Rhode Islanders rose over last year, with 535,300 in September, increasing 1,200 from last year’s total of 534,100.

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Unemployed state residents numbered 20,000 in September, for a year-over-year decrease of 1,900.

Those filing for unemployment insurance benefits hit 6,132 in September, down from 6,665 filed last year.

The state’s nonfarm payrolls fell for the first time since January, dropping to 503,600 in September from 504,000 in August, although the number of jobs in the state increased by 7,200 year over year.

Job activity by sector:

  • The health care and social assistance sector employed 84,400 in September, an increase of 3,600 jobs year over year.
  • Financial activities added 1,500 jobs year over year for a total of 36,800 jobs.
  • Transportation and utilities added 1,200 jobs year over year to 13,300.
  • Wholesale trade and other services each added 900 jobs from the year prior, for totals of 17,300 and 24,000, respectively.
  • Educational services added 800 jobs year over year, growing to 26,200.
  • The government sector grew by 400 jobs year over year to 61,400.
  • Construction employment increased by 300 jobs year over year to 19,600.
  • The information and professional and business services sectors each grew by 100 jobs over the year, totaling 6,100 jobs and 69,000, respectively.
  • Mining and logging saw no change year over year, coming in at 200 jobs.
  • Retail trade sector employment decreased by 300 year over year to 48,300 jobs.
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation employment fell by 400 jobs to 9,000.
  • Accommodation and food services dropped by 700 year over year, totaling 49,000 jobs.
  • The manufacturing sector totaled 39,000 jobs, for a year over year decrease of 1,200 jobs. Production workers earned $19.47 per hour in September, a 59 cent increase year over year. Manufacturing employees average hours were 39.2 hours per week, a decline of 1.3 hours year over year.

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