Steady unemployment declines continue into Oct.

PROVIDENCE – In its sixth month of either 0.2 or 0.1 percentage point dips, the Rhode Island seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continued its decline in October to 3.8 percent, according to a Thursday report from the R.I. Department of Labor and Training.

The latest figure reflects a 0.7 percentage point decline from the state’s 4.5 percent unemployment measured in October 2017.

Across the United States, national unemployment remained unchanged from September holding steady at 3.7 percent. Thursday’s news shows a 0.4 percentage point decline year-over-year.

In October, there were 21,300 unemployed residents – 800 fewer than in September and 3,800 less year over year.

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Nearly 6,500 individuals (6,434), collected unemployment insurance benefits last month. This figure marks a decrease of 275 individuals from October 2017.

Five of the 15 sectors examined saw gains both month-to-month and year-to-year in Thursday's R.I. Department of Labor and Training report. / COURTESY RIDLT
Five of the 15 sectors examined saw both month-to-month and year-to-year gains in R.I. Department of Labor and Training report for October. / COURTESY RIDLT

The Ocean State’s labor force total 561,200 last month reflecting a loss of 700 individuals from September yet a gain of 4,900 individuals from October 2017.

A total 503,100 Rhode Island-based nonfarm jobs were tallied in October, marking a gain of 500 jobs from the revised September figure and an addition of 6,300 jobs year over year.

“This progress didn’t happen by accident,” stated Gov. Gina M. Raimondo Thursday. “It happened because we revamped our approach to economic development and focused on education and job training initiatives. The strategy is working, and I’m committed to expanding these programs and ensuring that all Rhode Islanders are included in our economic recovery.”

Below is a sector-by-sector breakdown of job trends among Rhode Island’s top industries in October and how they compare to September 2018 and October 2017. Of the 15 sectors tracked, five saw job gains both month-to-month and year over year.

  • Other services: 500 jobs were added in October for an “all-time high” of 24,600 and 500 jobs have been added year over year
  • Retail trade: 400 jobs were added in October and 500 were added from October 2017
  • Construction: 300 jobs were added in October for a total 19,400 – the highest employment therein since the 19,700 construction jobs measured in October 2008 – and 1,100 jobs were added year over year.
  • Accommodation and food services: 200 jobs were added in October and 1,400 were added from October 2017
  • Wholesale trade: 200 jobs were added in October while 300 have been dropped year over year
  • Information: 100 jobs were added in October and 100 from October 2017
  • Government: 100 jobs were added in October while the sector has lost 300 year over year
  • Professional and business services: 600 jobs were dropped in October yet the sector has gained 300 from October 2017
  • Manufacturing: 300 jobs were lost in October while the sector has gained 800 jobs year over year
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation: 200 jobs were lost month to month and the sector has lost 200 jobs from October 2017
  • Health care and social assistance: 100 jobs were lost in October while the sector has gained 500 jobs year over year
  • Transportation and utilities: 100 jobs were lost in October and the sector has lost 100 jobs since October 2017
  • Educational services: the sector’s employment levels remained unchanged from September to October while 1,000 jobs have been gained year over year

Both the financial activities and mining and logging sectors have remained unchanged month to month and year to year.

In October, the state’s manufacturing sector production employees earned $18.86 per hour – a loss of two cents from September and 34 cents from October 2017. Those individuals worked an average 39.6 hours per week in October – a loss of 54 minutes from September and 54 minutes year over year.

Emily Gowdey-Backus is a staff writer for PBN. You can follow her on Twitter @FlashGowdey or contact her via email, gowdey-backus@pbn.com.