Press Releases


January Unemployment Rate Decreases to 7.2 Percent; Rhode Island-Based Jobs Rose by 4,500 from December

CRANSTON, R.I. - The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.2 percent in January, the Department of Labor and Training announced Thursday. The January rate was down seven-tenths of a percentage point from the revised December rate of 7.9 percent. Last year the rate was 3.8 percent in January.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 6.3 percent in January, down four-tenths of a percentage point from December. The U.S. rate was 3.5 percent in January 2020.

The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment was 39,100, down 3,700 from December. Over the year, the number of unemployed residents increased by 17,900.

The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 501,200, up 5,300 from December. Last January there were 540,800 employed Rhode Island residents.

The Rhode Island labor force totaled 540,300 in January, up 1,700 from December and down 21,700 from January 2020 (562,000).

Rhode Island-Based Jobs

The state added 4,500 jobs in January, recovering nearly 78 percent of the 5,800 jobs lost during the three-week pandemic related "pause" implemented in November 2020. Overall, the state has regained 63,100 (58.4%) of the 108,000 jobs loss due to the state-ordered shutdown and restrictions placed on local businesses between March and April 2020. In January 2021, there were 462,300 Rhode-Island base jobs, down 43,500 (-8.6%) from January 2020.

The Accommodation & Food Sector added 1,700 jobs in January, recovering 68 percent of the 2,500 jobs lost during the three-week pause. The Educational Services sector added 1,000 jobs in January, recovering the 800 jobs lost in December.

An increase of 900 jobs was reported in both the Other Services and Transportation & Utilities sectors, followed by an increase of 800 jobs in Arts, Entertainment & Recreation.

Smaller January job gains were reported in the Retail Trade (+400), Construction (+200), Government (+200) and Manufacturing (+100) sectors.

Offsetting some of the January job gains was a loss of 1,400 jobs reported in the Professional & Business Services sector, smaller losses were noted in the Health Care & Social Assistance (-200) and Information sectors (-100).

January employment remained unchanged in the Mining & Logging, Financial Activities and Wholesale Trade sectors.

To help prevent the outbreak of the coronavirus, many industries in the state were ordered to close or operate with restrictions in March and April of 2020, resulting in the loss of 108,000* jobs. Through January 2021, the state's economy has recovered 63,100 or 58 percent of the jobs lost during the shutdown. The Transportation & Utilities sector has recovered all the 3,600 jobs it lost during the shutdown, followed by large recovery gains noted in the Construction (91%), Retail Trade (83.0%), Manufacturing (70%) and Wholesale Trade (68%) sectors.

The Other Services (62%), Accommodation & Food Services (62%), Health Care & Social Assistance (53%) sectors have all recovered over half of the jobs lost during the shutdown.

Those sectors which have recovered less than half of the jobs they lost include Professional & Business Services (49%), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (48%), Financial Activities (26%) and Educational Services (6%).

The numbers of jobs in the Government and Information sectors are below pre-pandemic levels.

Rhode Island jobs are down 43,500 from a year ago. Due to the unprecedented pandemic-related employment declines reported in March and April 2020, nearly all employment sectors have reported year-over-year job declines in January 2021 compared to January 2020. The Accommodation & Food Services (-12,000) sector led all sectors in year-over-year jobs losses, followed by the Health Care & Social Assistance (-7,600), Professional & Business Services (-5,100), Government (-3,800), Other Services (-2,800) Educational Services (-2,600), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-2,400), Manufacturing (-1,900), Retail Trade (-1,900) and Financial Activities (-1,300).

Smaller annual declines were noted in the Information (-900), Wholesale Trade (-800), Construction (-300) and Transportation & Utilities (-100) sectors.

*Benchmark revisions indicated that the state lost a total of 108,000 jobs during March and April 2020, nearly 10,000 more than the pre-benchmark estimate of 98,100 jobs previously reported.

Manufacturing Hours and Earnings

In January, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $20.71 per hour, down thirteen cents from December, but up one dollar and thirty-nine cents from January 2020.

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 36.6 hours per week in January, down one hour and seven-tenths over the month, and down eight-tenths of an hour from a year ago.


Related links

  • Department or agency: Department of Labor and Training: Press Releases
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  • Release date: 03-11-2021

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