Press Releases


Rhode Island-Based Jobs Fell by 500 from October; November Unemployment Rate Increases to 7.3 Percent

CRANSTON, R.I. - The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.3 percent in November, the Department of Labor and Training announced Thursday. The November rate was up two-tenths of a percentage point from the revised October rate of 7.1 percent. Last year the rate was 3.5 percent in November.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in November, down from 6.9 percent in October. The U.S. rate was 3.5 percent in November 2019.

The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment was 39,200, up 600 from October. Over the year, the number of unemployed residents increased by 19,900.

The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 501,700, down 2,000 from October. Last November there were 537,700 employed Rhode Island residents.

The Rhode Island labor force totaled 540,900 in November, down 1,400 from October and down 16,100 from November 2019 (557,000).

Rhode Island-Based Jobs

Rhode Island's total nonfarm payroll employment level fell to 467,500 in November, a decrease of 500 from the revised October figure of 468,000. November marks the first monthly job decline since April. Rhode Island has regained just over 58 percent or 57,200 of the 98,100 jobs lost in March and April. Over the year, Rhode Island-based jobs are down by 37,700.

The number of jobs in the Arts, Entertainment & Recreation and Educational Services sectors each fell by 700 in November, while smaller job losses were reported in the Wholesale Trade (-300), Professional & Business Services (-200) and Financial Activities (-100) sectors.

Offsetting the November job losses was a gain of 400 jobs reported in both the Health Care & Social Assistance and Retail Trade sectors. The Accommodation & Food Services, Other Services and Transportation & Utilities sectors each reported a gain of 200 jobs in November, followed by a gain of 100 jobs in the Construction sector.

The number of jobs remained unchanged in the Government, Information, Manufacturing and Mining & Logging sectors.

To help prevent the outbreak of the coronavirus, many industries in the state were ordered to close in March and April, resulting in the loss of 98,100 jobs. Through November, the state's economy has recovered 57,200 or 58.3 percent of the jobs lost. The Retail Trade sector has recovered nearly 80 percent of the 9,400 jobs it lost during the shutdown, followed by the Manufacturing (77.3%), Financial Activities (75.0%), Health Care & Social Assistance (65.2%) and Accommodation & Food Services (64.0%) sectors.

The Professional & Business Services (55.0%), Other Services (54.8%), Construction (53.8%) and Information (50.0%) sectors have all recovered at least half of the jobs lost during the pandemic shutdown.

Those sectors which have recovered less than half of the jobs they lost include Educational Services (40.5%), Transportation & Utilities (31.0%) and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (30.6%).

The Government and Wholesale Trade sectors have yet to recover any of the jobs they lost in March and April and have continued to shed jobs since February.

Due to the unprecedented pandemic-related employment declines in March and April, nearly all employment sectors reported year-over-year declines in November. The Accommodation & Food Services (-11,600) sector led all sectors in year-over-year jobs losses, followed by the Professional & Business Services (-4,500), Health Care & Social Assistance (-4,300), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-3,400) and Other Services (-3,100) sectors.

Educational Services (-2,500), Retail Trade (-2,000), Government (-1,900), Transportation & Utilities (-1,600), and Wholesale Trade (-1,200) also reported sizable job declines between November 2019 and November 2020. Smaller annual declines were noted in the Information (-600), Manufacturing (-600), Construction (-300) and Financial Activities (-100) sectors.

Manufacturing Hours and Earnings

In November, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $21.28 per hour, down three cents from October, and up one dollar and eighty-three cents from November 2019.

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 37.5 hours per week in November, up six-tenths of an hour over the month, but down one and six-tenths hours from a year ago.

About DLT: The Department of Labor and Training (DLT) offers employment services, educational services and economic opportunities to both individuals and employers. DLT protects Rhode Island's workforce by enforcing labor laws, prevailing wage rates and workplace health and safety standards. The department also provides temporary income support to unemployed and temporarily disabled workers. For more information, please call the Department of Labor and Training at (401) 462-8000 or visit the website at

The Department of Labor and Training is scheduled to release the December 2020 labor force figures and job counts at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 21, 2021.


Related links

  • Department or agency: Department of Labor and Training: Press Releases
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  • Release date: 12-17-2020

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