Rhode Island-based jobs tick up in August but unemployment rises to 12.8%

RHODE ISLAND unemployment rate increased to 12.8% in August. / AP FILE PHOTO/ STEVEN SENNE
The RHODE ISLAND unemployment rate increased to 12.8% in August. / AP FILE PHOTO/ STEVEN SENNE

PROVIDENCE Rhode Island’s unemployment rate swelled 1.5 percentage points from July to August to 12.8%, more than three times higher than the rate one year prior, according to newly published information by the R.I. Department of Labor and Training on Thursday.

Rhode Island’s unemployment rate was also 4.4 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate of 8.4%. The U.S. had a month-to-month decrease of 1.8 percentage points from 10.2% in July.

Rhode Island’s unemployment rate was 3.5% in August 2019 while the national unemployment rate was 3.7%.

Unemployed state residents totaled 69,500 in August, a 6,400-person increase over July, but a 49,800 decline year over year.

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The total number of employed Rhode Island residents dropped by 22,100 month-over-month to 471,800 people. A year ago, there were 536,100 employed residents.

The state labor force totaled 541,300, a 15,700-person decrease over the prior month and 14,500 less than in August 2019.

Nonfarm employment increased by 6,900 jobs over the prior month to total 459,300. Jobs based in Rhode Island declined by 37,200 from last year, however, the DLT said that 57% of the jobs lost during the pandemic have been recovered.

Nearly all employment sectors reported year-over-year declines in August.

Sector-by-sector employment in Rhode Island in August (in order of the number of employed):

— Health care and social assistance: 76,900, a 5,500-job decrease over a year ago but and increase of 1,100 from July;

— Government: 64,400 jobs, a 800-job decrease from a year ago but 1,200 more jobs than the prior month;

— Professional and business services: 61,500 jobs, a 6,700-job decrease from a year ago but a 700-job increase from July;

— Retail trade: 44,800 jobs, a decline of 3,000 from a year ago and a 200-job decrease from July;

— Manufacturing: 38,800 jobs, a 1,000-job decline year over year and a decline of 900 from the month before. Production workers in the sector earned $20.65 per hour, a 20 cent increase month to month, and a 79 cent increase year over year. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 37.6 hours per week in August, a decline of 0.3 hours year over year, and an increase of 2.1 hours month to month.

— Accommodation and food services: 40,500 jobs, a 11,500 year-over-year decline but an increase of 1,700 over the prior month;

— Financial activities: 35,900 jobs, an increase of 500 year-over-year and a rise of 300 from July;

— Educational services: 27,900, an increase of 1,600 from a year ago and 1,200 over the prior month;

— Other services: 18,400 jobs, a 4,600 year-over-year decline but an increase of 600 from the prior month;

— Construction: 18,300 jobs, a 1,600-job drop from August 2019 and 100 less jobs than one month prior;

— Wholesale Trade: 15,700 jobs, a decline of 900 year over year but an increase of 500 from July.

— Transportation and utilities: 10,900 jobs , 1,600 less than a year ago but a 200-job increase over July;

— Arts, entertainment and recreation: 6,500 jobs, a decline of 1,400 from a year ago but an increase of 500 month to month;

— Information: 5,400 jobs, a decline of 700 jobs compared with August 2019 but 100 jobs have been added since July.

Job numbers in the mining and logging industry were unchanged from the prior month at 300.

Alexa Gagosz is a PBN staff writer. Contact her at Gagosz@PBN.com. You may also follow her on Twitter at @AlexaGagosz.

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