R.I. unemployment rises to 3.7%; Feb. numbers prior to most COVID-19 claims

RHODE ISLAND unemployment was 3.7% prior to the sharp increase in the number of unemployed due to the threat of the coronavirus
RHODE ISLAND unemployment was 3.7% prior to the sharp increase in the number of unemployed due to the threat of the coronavirus.

PROVIDENCE – The unemployment rate in Rhode Island was 3.7% in February, a 0.3 percentage point increase year over year.

The figures predate much of the massive unemployment filing numbers related to the impacts of COVID-19 on the state.

The number of unemployed in the state totaled 18,800, a decline of 1,500 people year over year. A total of 12,781 individuals filed for unemployment insurance in the month, a decline from 13,663 one year prior.

UI filings due to COVID-19 reached nearly 54,000 as of Wednesday, numbers not reflected in the February report.

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The number of employed Rhode Islanders totaled 539,700 in February, a 5,300 increase year over year.

Nonfarm employment totaled 508,500, a 1,600-worker increase year over year.

The labor force increased 3,900 year over year to 558,500.

Nonfarm employment by job sector in the state in January (in order of number of employed):

  • Health care and social assistance employed 83,500, a 1,700-worker increase year over year.
  • Professional and business services employed 68,600, unchanged from one year prior.
  • Government employment increased by 1,200 year over year to 66,100.
  • Accommodation and food services employed 53,500, a 1,400-person increase year over year.
  • Retail trade employed 48,400, uncanged from one year prior.
  • Manufacturing employed 39,000, an 800-worker decline year over year. Manufacturing production workers earned $19.45 per hour in the month, a 12 cent decline from one year prior. Workers in the sector worked an average of 37.5 hours per week, a 1.5-hour decline over the year.
  • The financial-activities sector employed 35,700, a 400-worker increase year over year.
  • Educational services employed 27,200, a 600-worker increase from one year prior.
  • Other services employed 22,100, a decline of 1,100 jobs year over year.
  • Construction employment was 20,400, a 300-worker increase year over year.
  • Wholesale trade employed 16,700 workers, a 100-worker increase year over year.
  • Transportation and utilities employed 13,300, an 800-worker increase year over year.
  • Arts and recreation employed 8,100 in the state, a 500-worker increase year over year.
  • The information sector employed 5,600 workers, a 500-job decline year over year.
  • Mining and logging employed 200 workers, unchanged from one year prior.

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