CRANSTON, R.I. - The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February was 3.4 percent, unchanged from January, the Department of Labor and Training announced Thursday. Over the year, the unemployment rate is down three-tenths of a percentage point from the February 2019 rate of 3.7 percent.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in February, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month and down three-tenths of a percentage point over the year.
The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents — those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment — was 18,800, down 100 from January. Over the year, the number of unemployed residents decreased by 1,500.
A total of 12,871 individuals filed for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in February ?, a decrease of 792 from the 13,663 filed a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 58.2 percent of the total unemployed.
The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 539,700, up 1,100 from January. Over the year, the number of employed Rhode Island residents was up 5,300 from February 2019 (534,400).
The Rhode Island labor force totaled 558,500 in February up 900 from January and up 3,900 from February 2019 (554,600).
Rhode Island-Based Jobs
Nonfarm payroll employment in Rhode Island totaled 508,500 in February, an increase of 1,600 from the revised January estimate of 506,900. Jobs were up in eight employment sectors. The largest industry movement from January was a gain of 700 jobs in the Construction sector. In addition, the number of jobs were up in Educational Services (+400), Accommodation & Food Services (+300), Professional & Business Services (+300), Financial Activities (+200), Health Care & Social Assistance (+200), Government (+100) and Transportation & Utilities (+100). Record high employment levels were reported by three sectors in February, Accommodation & Food Services, Health Care & Social Assistance and Transportation & Utilities. The Rhode Island economy has reported five consecutive months of jobs gains, totaling 5,700 jobs.
Conversely, the number of jobs in the Information, Manufacturing and Wholesale Trade sectors all fell by 200 in February, while the number of jobs in the Other Services sector fell by 100.
Over the year, total nonfarm jobs in Rhode Island were up 4,600 with nine employment sectors reporting gains. Three industries added more than 1,000 jobs since February 2019: Health Care & Social Assistance (+1,700), Accommodation & Food Services (+1,400) and Government (+1,200). The remaining industries adding year-over-year jobs include the Transportation & Utilities (+800), Educational Services (+600), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+500), Financial Activities (+400), Construction (+300) and Wholesale Trade (+100).
Job losses from February 2019 were noted in the Other Services (-1,100), Manufacturing (-800) and Information (-500) sectors.
Manufacturing Hours and Earnings
In February, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $19.45 per hour, up twenty-nine cents from January, but down twelve cents from February 2019.
Manufacturing employees worked an average of 37.5 hours per week in February, up one-tenth of an hour over the month, but down one and a half hours from a year ago.
*Refers to the number of new and reopened claims filed by UI beneficiaries and claims filed by those already collecting UI in the week that includes the 12th of the month.
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 (BLS) as official since the methodology used at that time is not comparable to today's methods. The establishment of employment figures is derived from a survey of businesses in Rhode Island and measures 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 Current Employment Statistics (CES) estimates is available on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/sae/cesprocs.htm. BLS will be releasing all states' February labor force data and job counts on March 27, 2020. The Department of Labor and Training is scheduled to release the March 2020 labor force figures and job counts at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 16, 2020.