R.I. joblessness falls to 3.9% in Feb.

THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE in Rhode Island declined 0.4 percentage points year over year to 3.9 percent, just higher than the national unemployment rate of 3.8 percent. / COURTESY R.I. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND TRAINING
THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE in Rhode Island declined 0.4 percentage points year over year to 3.9 percent, just higher than the national unemployment rate of 3.8 percent. / COURTESY R.I. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND TRAINING

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in February fell to 3.9 percent, a 0.4 percentage-point decline year over year, according to the R.I. Department of Labor and Training Thursday.

The February unemployment rate was just over the United States’ unemployment rate of 3.8 percent

In the Ocean State, there were 21,900 unemployed in February, a 2,100-person decline year over year. Those collecting unemployment insurance benefits totaled 13,663 for the month, a decline from 13,959 one year prior.

The number of state residents employed in Rhode Island increased year over year from 531,600 to 533,400 in February. Meanwhile, the labor force declined 300 people year over year to 555,600.

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At the same time, seasonally adjusted Rhode Island nonfarm employment declined 1,600 jobs over the year to 494,600 and fell 600 jobs from revised January estimates.

Sector by sector breakdown (listed from largest sector employment to smallest sector employment):

  • Health care and social assistance employment increased 800 workers year over year to 81,500. Employment in the sector increased 500 workers from January to February; the health care and social assistance sector was tied with the transportation and utilities sector for the largest year-over-year jobs gains
  • Professional and business services employment totaled 67,400, declining 600 jobs year over year and declining 800 workers month to month
  • Government employment in February totaled 61,100, a 300-worker increase year over year and a 100-worker decline month to month
  • There were 48,500 workers employed in the accommodation and food services sector in February, a decline of 100 workers month to month and 1,000 workers year over yeat
  • Retail trade employed 47,900 in February, a 900-worker decline both year over year and month to month; retail employment experienced the largest sector decline month to month in February
  • Manufacturing employed 39,700 workers in January, an 1,100-job decline year over year and a 200-worker decline month to month; the DLT noted that production workers in the sector earned $19.33 per hour in February, an increase of 45 cents year over year and a decline of 24 cents month to month; manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.2 hours per week for the month, a decline of 1.7 hours per week year over year and a decline of a one and one-tenth hours month to month; manufacturing posted the largest year over year employment decline of any sector in Rhode Island in February
  • Financial activities employed 35,800 in February, a 200-worker increase from February 2018 and a 500-worker increase month to month
  • There were 25,800 workers employed in the education services sector in February, an increase of 700 jobs year over year and an increase of 600 workers month to month; the month-to-month job increase was the largest for any sector in the state
  • There were 23,400 workers in the other services sector, an increase of 400 from one year prior and a decline of 200 month to month
  • Construction employment was 19,500 in February, a decline of 100 jobs year over year and an increase of 100 jobs month to month
  • The wholesale trade sector employed 16,400 in February, a decline of 200 jobs year over year and month to month
  • Transportation and utilities employment increased 800 jobs year over year to 12,900, which represented a 200-job increase month to month; the transportation and utilities sector’s year-over-year job gains tied as the largest increases of any sector in the state with the health care and social assistance sector
  • The arts, entertainment and recreation sector employed 8,800 in February, a 700-job decline year over year and a 100-job increase month to month
  • The information sector employed 5,800 in February, the same as in January and a 200-worker decline year over year
  • Mining and logging employed 100 workers, the same as one year prior and a decline of 100 jobs month to month

Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor. Email him at Bergenheim@PBN.com.