Unemployment holds steady at 4.5 percent as job additions shine in April DLT data

PROVIDENCE – While the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.5 percent in April, 900 jobs were added in the state since March, according to a report from the R.I. Department of Labor and Training Thursday.

April marks the second consecutive month with a 4.5 percent seasonally adjusted unemployment rate after the February figure was recalculated from 4.5 percent to 4.6 percent.

In addition, the local April 2018 rate is 0.01 percentage points higher than in April 2017.

Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points in April to 3.9 percent – a 0.5 percentage point dip from April 2017.

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There were 200 fewer unemployed Rhode Islanders in April (25,100) while that figure rests 800 individuals higher than in April 2017.

Nearly 11,000 residents (10,914), or 48.8 percent of the total unemployed, collected unemployment insurance benefits in April, 253 fewer than in April 2017 and 742 fewer than in March.

Nonfarm payrolls in Rhode Island totaled 499,300 in April which marks a gain of 900 jobs from the revised March figure and an addition of 7,200 year-over-year.

The labor force rang in at 558,900 in April – a gain of 900 individuals since March and reflecting the addition of 5,600 from April 2017.

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

  • Manufacturing: 400 jobs were added in April which ended three consecutive months of job declines and 1,200 have been added since April 2017
  • Financial activities: 400 jobs were added in April, the first gain since December, and 1,000 have been added year-over-year
  • Health care & social assistance: 300 jobs were added in April and 1,600 since April 2017
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation: 200 jobs were added in April and 100 year-over-year
  • Educational services: 200 jobs were added in April while the sector has dropped 700 since April 2017
  • Information: 100 jobs were added in April while 100 have been dropped year-over-year
  • Retail trade: 100 jobs were added in April and the sector dropped 100 since April 2017
  • Professional and business services: 100 jobs were added in April and 2,800 were gained year-over-year
  • Government: 300 jobs were lost in April 2017 while 100 have been added year-over-year
  • Wholesale trade: 300 jobs were dropped in April 2017 and the sector has lost 300 since April 2017
  • Construction: 200 jobs were lost in April 2017 while the sector has added 200 since April 2017
  • Transportation and utilities: 100 jobs were dropped in April while the sector has gained 200 year-over-year
  • Other services: the sector remained unchanged in April while it added 700 jobs year-over-year
  • Accommodation and food services: the sector remained unchanged in April but gained 500 jobs since April 2017

Mining and logging employment remained unchanged over the month and unchanged over the year.

Manufacturing sector production employees earned $18.88 per hour in April – a loss of 57 cents since March and seven cents over the year. In April, those individuals worked an average 41.9 hours per week – a gain of 20.4 minutes since March and 14.4 minutes over the year.

In a statement Thursday following the release of the unemployment report, Gov. Gina M. Raimondo said: “Our new approach to job training and economic development is working. … Because we didn’t give up on Rhode Islanders who make a living making things, we’ve added 1,200 manufacturing jobs in the last 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.