CRANSTON, R.I. - The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.3 percent in April, the Department of Labor and Training announced Thursday. The April rate was down seven-tenths of a percentage point from the March rate of 7.0 percent. Last year the rate was 17.4 percent in April.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 6.1 percent in April, up one-tenth of a percentage point from March. The U.S. rate was 14.8 percent in April 2020.
The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents — those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment — was 33,900, down 4,300 from March. The number of unemployed residents decreased by 60,800 over the year.
The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 505,800, up 2,400 from March. Last April there were 451,000 employed Rhode Island residents.
The Rhode Island labor force totaled 539,600 in April, down 1,900 from March and down 6,100 from April 2020 (545,700).
Since February 2020, the month prior to the pandemic related shutdowns, the number of unemployed RI residents is up 11,700 and the number of employed RI residents is down 34,000. Currently, there are 22,400 fewer RI residents participating in the labor force than there were prior to the start of the pandemic.
Rhode Island-Based Jobs
The Rhode Island economy added 400 nonfarm jobs in April, boosting the number of statewide jobs to 467,600 from the revised March job figure of 467,200. Since the start of the year, the Rhode Island job market has grown by 9,800, an average gain of 2,500 jobs per month.
The Accommodation & Food Services sector and the Construction sector both added 500 jobs in April and the sectors have added 3,400 and 1,300 jobs, respectively, since January.
Government employment rose by 400 in April, led by gains reported within the federal government branch.
An increase of 300 jobs was reported in the Professional & Business Services sector as well as the Other Services sector.
Rounding out the April job gains was a gain of 100 jobs reported in each of the Educational Services, Financial Activities and Manufacturing sectors.
The number of jobs in the Retail Trade sector fell by 800 in April led by declines reported among general merchandise stores. This marked the first job decrease in the retail sector since April 2020, the start of the pandemic-related restrictions.
Employment in the Health Care & Social Assistance sector decreased by 500 in April fueled by shrinking payrolls reported among the social services subsector.
Lastly, the Transportation & Utilities (-400), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-100) and Wholesale Trade (-100) sectors reported job losses in April.
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 April 2021, the state's economy has recovered 68,400 or 63.3 percent of the jobs lost during the shutdown. The Construction sector has recovered all the 4,200 jobs it lost during the pandemic shutdown. Large job recovery gains were also noted in the Retail Trade (81%), Manufacturing (80%) and Wholesale Trade (77%) sectors.
Other employment sectors which have recovered at least half of the jobs lost during the pandemic restrictions include Other Services, recovering 70 percent of the jobs lost, followed by the Transportation & Utilities (69%), Accommodation & Food Services (67%), Health Care & Social Assistance (60%) and Professional & Business Services (59%) sectors.
Financial Activities and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation have recovered 47 percent and 38 percent of the jobs they lost during the pandemic shutdown respectively, while the Educational Services sector has regained 6 percent of the jobs lost. The numbers of jobs in the Information and Government sectors are below their pandemic-level low points.
Due to the unprecedented pandemic-related shutdowns and restrictions implemented in April 2020, the number of jobs in Rhode Island plunged to 399,200. Gradually, restrictions started to ease, and the economy began to slowly trend upwards. Over the year, Rhode Island jobs are up 68,400, led by the Accommodation & Food Services (+21,900) sector. Health Care & Social Assistance is up 10,400 jobs since April 2020, followed by the Retail Trade (+9,100), Professional & Business Services (+5,500), Other Services (+5,400), Manufacturing (+5,300) and Construction (+4,900) sectors.
Smaller annual gains were noted in the Transportation & Utilities (+2,500), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+1,800), Wholesale Trade (+1,700), Financial Activities (+900) and Educational Services (+200) sectors.
The Government (-1,100) sector was the lone sector to report an over-the-year job decrease, while jobs in the Information sector remained unchanged from April 2020.
Manufacturing Hours and Earnings
In April, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $21.16 per hour, up thirty-three cents from March, and up twenty-seven cents from April 2020.
Manufacturing employees worked an average of 38.5 hours per week in April, up one hour over the month, but down two and a half 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 www.dlt.ri.gov.
The Department of Labor and Training is scheduled to release the May 2021 labor force figures and job counts at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021.