Rhode Island-Based Jobs Rose by 2,600 from November; December Unemployment Rate Decreases to 4.8 Percent
Published on Thursday, January 20, 2022
CRANSTON, R.I. – The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.8 percent in December, the Department of Labor and Training announced Thursday. The December rate was down three-tenths of a percentage point from the November rate of 5.1 percent. Last year the rate was 7.9 percent in December.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in December, down three-tenths of a percentage point from November. The U.S. rate was 6.7 percent in December 2020.
The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents — those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment — was 26,700, down 1,700 from November. The number of unemployed residents decreased by 16,100 over the year. Since April 2020, the height of pandemic-related shutdowns, the number of unemployed RI residents is down 68,000.
The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 525,500, unchanged over the month and up 29,600 over the year. Since April 2020 the number of employed Rhode Island residents is up 74,500.
The Rhode Island labor force totaled 552,200 in December, down 1,700 over the month and up 13,600 from December 2020. The labor force is up 6,500 from April 2020.
Since February 2020, the month prior to the pandemic-related shutdowns, the number of unemployed RI residents is up 4,500 and the number of employed RI residents is down 14,300. Currently, there are 9,800 fewer RI residents participating in the labor force than there were prior to the start of the pandemic.
Rhode Island-Based Jobs
Total nonfarm payroll employment in Rhode Island totaled 485,800 in December, increasing 2,600 from the revised November employment figure of 483,200. Through the December job gain and the revised November job gain of 3,400, the state’s economy has added 6,000 jobs over the past two months.
The Accommodation & Food Services sector added 800 jobs in December, marking six consecutive months of job gains totaling 5,100 jobs. Full-service restaurants were the catalyst behind the December job increase.
Employment in the Health Care & Social Assistance sector grew by 600 in December led by health practitioners providing outpatient services.
A gain of 400 jobs and 300 jobs was reported in the Wholesale Trade and Transportation & Warehousing sectors, respectively.
The Manufacturing and Retail Trade sectors both added 200 jobs in December, followed by a gain of 100 jobs in each of the Educational Services, Information, Other Services and Professional & Technical Services sectors.
Only two employment sectors, Construction (-200) and Government (-100) reported December job declines.
The December job counts in the Arts, Entertainment & Recreation, Financial Activities and Mining & Logging remained unchanged.
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 a slow upward trend. Over the year, Rhode Island jobs are up 28,000, led by the Accommodation & Food Services (+8,900) sector. Manufacturing employment is up 3,400 jobs since December 2020, followed by the Health Care & Social Assistance (+3,300), Government (+3,000), Other Services (+2,100), Wholesale Trade (+1,700), Construction (+1,400), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+1,400) and Transportation & Warehousing (+1,300) sectors.
Smaller annual job gains were noted in the Educational Services (+600), Professional & Technical Services (+500), Information (+300) and Retail Trade (+200) sectors.
Employment in the Financial Activities sector is down 100 from a year ago, while the number of jobs in the Mining & Logging sector remained unchanged.
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 December 2021, the state’s economy has recovered 86,600 or 80 percent of the jobs lost during the shutdown. Four employment sectors, Construction, Manufacturing, Transportation & Utilities and Wholesale Trade have recovered all the jobs lost during the pandemic shutdown.
The Accommodation & Food Services sector has regained 84 percent of the jobs it lost during the restriction period, followed by the Retail Trade (81%), Other Services (78%), Health Care & Social Assistance (74%) and Professional & Business Services (69%), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (60%) and Government (54%) sectors.
The Information sector has recovered 38 percent of the jobs it lost during the pandemic shutdown followed by the Financial Activities sector which has recovered 21 percent.
The Educational Services sector has yet to recover any of the 3,200 jobs it lost during the pandemic shutdown.
Manufacturing Hours and Earnings
In December, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $22.75 per hour, down fifty-one cents from November, and up one dollar and ninety-one cents from December 2020
Manufacturing employees worked an average of 40.2 hours per week in December, up one hour over the month, and up one and nine-tenths hours from a year ago.