The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December 2012 dropped to 10.2 percent, down two-tenths of a percentage point from the November 2012 rate and eight-tenths of a percentage point from the December 2011 rate.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.8 percent in December 2012, unchanged from the previous month and down seven-tenths of a percentage point over the year.
The number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment—was 57,800, down 900 from the November figure of 58,700. Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 4,300.
The number of employed RI residents was up 2,200 over the November figures, increasing to 508,400 in December. This represents the fifth consecutive monthly increase in employed Rhode Islanders and the highest employment level since February 2009. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents increased 8,500 from December 2011.
The RI labor force totaled 566,200 in December 2012, up 1,300 from November 2012 and up 4,200 from December 2011. This represents the fourth consecutive monthly increase and the greatest labor force level since December 2010.
JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: Estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 458,800 in December, reflecting a gain of 1,200 jobs from the revised November employment estimate of 457,600. In all, the state's job count is up 900 since January 2012 and up 900 jobs since December 2011. Newly revised employment figures for the entire 2012 calendar year are scheduled for release in February following the completion of the annual benchmark process.
The December preliminary estimates indicate that the Professional & Business Services sector added 1,100 jobs over the month as increased payrolls were reported in several industry groups, including office administrative services, services to buildings and dwellings and waste management services.
Gains of 600 jobs each were reported in both the Educational Services and Accommodation & Food Services sectors. A reported employment increase at a private college along with gains in educational support services fueled the growth in Educational Services. The gain in Accommodation & Food Services was mainly attributed to restaurants and drinking places.
Smaller over the month job gains were reported in Health Care & Social Assistance (+200), Wholesale Trade (+200), Retail Trade (+100), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+100) and Transportation & Utilities (+100).
Offsetting the large employment gains were sizeable job losses reported in the Construction (-900) and Other Services (-500) sectors. Specialty trade contractors, especially finishing contractors, experienced a large number of job declines over the month. The reduction in the Other Services sector was mainly due to payroll declines reported in repair and maintenance services.
The Manufacturing and Financial Activities sectors each lost 200 jobs in December while employment remained unchanged in the Government, Information and Mining & Logging sectors.
Over the year, total nonfarm employment increased by 900, marking the first over-the-year increase since October 2011 (+100). Job gains appeared in seven economic sectors, including Professional & Business Services (+1,400), Accommodation & Food Services (+1,100), Manufacturing (+600), Financial Activities (+100), Educational Services (+100), Health Care & Social Assistance (+100) and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+100).
Employment in Government (-1,100), Construction (-1,100), Wholesale Trade (-200) and Information (-200) was down over the year. Employment in Mining & Logging, Retail Trade, Transportation & Utilities and Other Services remained unchanged over the year.
MANUFACTURING: In December 2012, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $18.42 per hour, down 16 cents from November 2012 and up 83 cents from December 2011. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 41.4 hours per week in December, up an hour and eight-tenths over the month and up nine-tenths of an hour from a year ago.
METHODOLOGY: The unemployment figures are based largely on a survey of households in Rhode Island and measure the unemployment status of people who live in the state. Unemployment rates prior to 1976 are not recognized by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as official since the methodology used at that time is not comparable to today's methods. The establishment employment figures are derived from a survey of businesses in Rhode Island and measure the number of jobs in the state. Rhode Island labor market information is available at www.dlt.ri.gov/lmi. Additional information on procedures for producing CES estimates is available on the BLS web site at http://www.bls.gov/sae/cesprocs.htm. The January labor force figures are scheduled to be released on Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 2:00 P.M.