R.I. unemployment declines to 3.6% in May

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continued to fall last month, hitting 3.6%, according to the R.I. Department of Labor Thursday.

The number reflects a drop of four-tenths of a percentage point from May of last year, when unemployment in May 2018 was 4%.

At the same time, the Rhode Island labor force declined 3,300 people year over year to 552,200 in May.

Rhode Island nonfarm payrolls numbered 498,700 at the end of May, an increase from 496,600 one year prior.

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A total of 7,381 individuals filed for unemployment insurance benefits in May 2019, an increase from the 7,374 one year prior.

The Ocean State’s unemployment rate now mirrors that of the United States, which was 3.6% in May, down from 3.8% one year prior.

Rhode Island job activity by sector:

  • The health care and social assistance sector employed 82,600 in May, an increase of 1,900 jobs year over year, the largest increase of any sector in the state
  • The professional and business services sector employed 66,500 in May, a decrease of 2,000 year over year
  • Government employed 61,400 in May, a year-over-year decrease of 100
  • The accommodation and food services sector employed 49,500 in May, a decline of 100 jobs from last May
  • Retail trade employed 48,500 in May, a year-over-year drop of 200 jobs
  • The manufacturing sector employed 39,200 in May, showing a year-over-year decrease of 1,400 jobs, the largest decline of any sector in the state. Production workers in the manufacturing sector earned $19.53 per hour, a 30 cent increase year over year. Meanwhile, production workers worked an average of 39 hours per week in May, a decline of 1.1 hours year over year
  • The financial activities sector employed 36,300 in May, an increase of 1,000 from May of last year
  • Educational services employed 25,200 in May, a decline of 300 jobs year over year
  • Other services employed 23,900 in May, increasing by 1,000 from last year
  • The construction sector employed 19,900 people in May, an increase of 700 jobs year over year
  • Wholesale trade employed 17,200 in May, a year over year increase of 700 jobs from May 2018
  • The transportation and utilities sector employed 13,200 in May, an increase of 1,000 jobs year over year
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation employed 9,200 in May, showing a drop of 300 jbos from the previous year
  • The information sector employed 5,900 people in May, an increase of 200 jobs year over year
  • Mining and logging employed 200 in May, holding steady with numbers from last year