2013-01-24 / News

New study says more people are being employed in Rhode Island

The state Department of Labor and Training announced last week that Rhode Island’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December 2012 dropped to 10.2 percent, down one-fifth of a percentage point from the November 2012 rate, and four-fifths 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 7/10 of a percentage point over the year.

The number of unemployed RI residents – those residents classifi ed 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 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 residents increased 8,500 from December 2011.

The Rhode Island 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.

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 and 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 and food-service 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 food services was mainly attributed to restaurants and bars.

Smaller gains were reported in health care and wholesale trade, both plus 200, and retail, arts and transportation, all plus 100 jobs.

Offsetting the large employment gains was a sizeable job loss reported in the construction section, where 900 jobs were lost. Specialty trade contractors, especially finishing contractors, experienced a large number of job declines over the month. The reduction was mainly due to payroll declines reported in repair and maintenance services.

The manufacturing and financial sectors each lost 200 jobs in December, while employment remained unchanged in government, mining and logging sectors.

Over the year, total nonfarm employment increased by 900, marking the first over-the-year increase since October 2011, which added 100 jobs.

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