R.I. unemployment rate holds at 3.5% in Dec.

PROVIDENCE – The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Rhode Island was 3.5% in December, a 0.5 percentage point decline year over year, the R.I. Department of Labor and Training said Thursday.

The state unemployment rate remained unchanged from November.

The state unemployment rate was level with the national rate for the month, which had declined from 3.9% in December 2018.

Nonfarm employment in the state increased 8,600 year over year to 506,300. Employed Rhode Islanders totaled 539,100 in that time, a 5,000-person increase year over year.

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The number of unemployed Rhode Islanders was 19,4000, a 2,800-person decline year over year.

Filings for unemployment insurance for the month totaled 9,342, a decline of 154 filings from the previous year. Unemployment insurance claimants accounted for 51.9% of the total unemployed.

The Rhode Island labor force, meanwhile, increased 2,300 over the year to 558,500.

The following is a breakdown of nonfarm employment by sector in Rhode Island:

  • Health care and social assistance: Employed 84,400, an increase 3,000 year over year.
  • Professional and business services: Employed 69,500, an increase of 300 from December 2018.
  • Government: Employed 61,500 workers, a 200-person increase from December 2018
  • Accommodation and food services: Employed 50,700, an increase of 2,100 workers year over year.
  • Retail trade: Employed 48,800, a decline of 600 year over year.
  • Manufacturing: Employed 39,200, a decline of 300 workers year over year. Average manufacturing working hours totaled 38.6 per week, a 2.6 hour decline from December 2018. Production workers earned an average of $19.21 per hour, a 17-cent increase year over year.
  • Financial activities: Employed 35,900, a 600-worker increase year over year.
  • Education services: Employed 25,200, a 200-worker increase over the year.
  • Other services: Employed 23,500, a 100-worker decline year over year.
  • Construction: Employed 19,200 workers, a 300-worker decline from December 2018.
  • Wholesale trade: Employed 17,700 workers, an increase of 1,400 workers over the year.
  • Transportation and utilities: Employed 13,700 workers, a 1,200-employee increase year over year.
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation: Employed 9,600 in the state, a 900-worker increase from December 2018.
  • Information: Employed 6,200 workers, a 300-worker increase year over year.
  • Mining and logging employed 200 workers, unchanged from the previous year.

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