Rhode Island-Based Jobs Grew by 1,800 from November;

December Unemployment Rate Rose to 3.2 Percent


CRANSTON, R.I. – Rhode Island businesses added 1,800 jobs in December as the state’s unemployment rate rose to 3.2 percent. Over the year, jobs were up 1,900 from December 2022, and the unemployment rate was unchanged. Through December, Rhode Island has recovered 100,300 or 92.6 percent of the 108,300 jobs lost during the Covid-19 shutdown.


Rhode Island’s Labor Force


The December unemployment rate was 3.2 percent, up three-tenths of a percentage point from the November rate of 2.9 percent. Last year, the rate was 3.2 percent in December.


The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in December, unchanged from November. The U.S. rate was 3.5 percent in December 2022.


The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents — those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment — was 18,200, up 1,500 from November. The number of unemployed residents was unchanged over the year.


The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 556,900, down 600 over the month and up 8,700 over the year.


The Rhode Island labor force totaled 575,100 in December, up 900 over the month and up 8,700 from December 2022.


The labor force participation rate was 63.8 percent in December, up from 63.7 in November, and up from 62.9 in December 2022. Nationally, 62.5 percent of U.S. residents participated in the labor force.


Unemployment Insurance claims* for first-time filers averaged 1,186 in December, up from 813 in November. Claims were up an average of 98 a week from December 2022 filings.


Rhode Island-Based Jobs


The number of Rhode Island total nonfarm jobs was 499,300 in December, an increase of 1,800 jobs from the November jobs figure of 497,500. Over the year, total nonfarm jobs are up 1,900 or 0.4 percent. Nationally, jobs were up 1.7 percent from a year ago. The number of private sector jobs in Rhode Island rose by 1,300 in December and is unchanged from December 2022.


December Nonfarm Payroll Notes…


·     The final quarter of 2023 added a total of 3,600 jobs, an average of 1,200 jobs per month.

·     The December job count was the highest job count in nine months (March: 499,400).

·     The November jobs report was revised up 600 jobs. The November job count is now up 2,500 from October, as opposed to the 1,900 jobs originally reported.

·     The Health Care & Social Assistance sector added 600 jobs in December, pushing the employment level up to 84,100, the highest employment level on record.

·     December marks the first positive year-over-year job change since 6,500 jobs were added between March 2022 and March 2023.

·     The largest monthly job decline reported in December was in the Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities (-200) sector.


Manufacturing Hours and Earnings


In December, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $25.34 per hour, down twenty-one cents from November, but up one dollar and twenty-eight cents from December 2022.


Manufacturing employees worked an average of 40.5 hours per week in December, up an hour and two-tenths over the month, and up an hour and three-tenths from a year ago.   



* The average number of verified initial claims filed during the week that includes the 12th of the month and the three weeks prior. The Department of Labor and Training is scheduled to release the January 2024 labor force figures and job counts at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 7, 2024.