Other States Need Much More Misery Before RI Has Company


The unemployment rate for Rhode Island fell by one tenth of a percent to 10.8%, but total employment dropped by 80 people.  That’s not even a “mixed picture,” though.  The only reason the unemployment rate moved in a seemingly positive direction is that 471 more Rhode Islanders just gave up looking for work.

So if the unemployment rate is a positive sign, then the state’s motto might as well be “We hope people leave faster than they lose their jobs.” (Note for Instalanche visitors: Rhode Island’s official motto is just “Hope.”)

About the best that can be said for the Ocean State is that every other state in the union lost more employment than it did, except Utah, which saw a slight gain.  That context is illustrated very well in an update to my chart showing labor force (employed plus looking for work) and employment for Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut as a percentage of each state’s January 2007 labor force.

The blue lines are labor force; the red lines are employment.  Rhode Island is solid, Massachusetts dashed, and Connecticut dotted.

RI, MA, and CT Labor Force and Employment as a Percentage of Jan. 2007 Labor Force, Jan. 2007 to July 2012

So, yes, Connecticut and Massachusetts saw steeper drops since June, especially in employment, but both states have been on the upswing since around March 2010.  Rhode Island, meanwhile, has continued its slide.  Worse still, our neighboring states (and the rest of the country, frankly) would have to enter into a dramatic nosedive while Rhode Island merely continued to drift down in order for the Ocean State to have real company in its misery.

  • Welp, we did precious little this past legislative session to either improve the state's business climate or mitigate taxes by giving cities and towns budget tools.

    By heavens, though, we made sure that pets will now have court advocates!

  • former RhoDieLinDuh

    Laffey would have gotten you out of this. You rejected him, chased away an incredibly bright, well-meaning savior. He left in disgust, I imagine, to get out of the way of your nosedive to the ground. All of ri’s problems are unforced, self-inflicted. When you crash, puhlease don’t look to the rest of the country to bail you out.

  • Andrew X

    471 people stopped looking for work?? I dunno, it feel more like 473 to me.

    471 exactly?? What does this number mean? Where does it come from? Do people call a phone number and press #2 to officially state, "I have now stopped looking for work?" The entire national unemployment number is dramatically affected, as in lowered, by the number of people who have "stopped looking for work". So how do we know exactly what that number is? And if we cannot pin that down exactly, and I don't see how that is possible, doesn't that render the entire "unemployment rate" a virtually meaningless number? Garbage in, garbage out?

    Should not the unemployment number essentially be the number of working age adults who are not gainfully employed, factoring in self-employment, and I suppose, those who are lucky enough to not need an immediate income? That being the case, the unemployment rate is right now, I am just guessing, between 15% and 20%, and in a normal, healthy economy might be as high as 7%. That "seems" high, but by God at least it's honest.

    This whole "looking for work" factor in the numbers strikes me as one step away from an outright scam. It gives the polis and bureaus enough gray area to move the needle however they may desire (and then, aren't these numbers frequently "revised" a month later anyway?). I never have been able to steer around all this whenever I hear these numbers bandied about.

  • FrancisChalk

    "The Democrats chickens are coming home to roost" (to quote a high-level presidential minister) . . . and for that I am doing a jig.

  • There's nothing more satisfying than watching big government socialists suffering from their own greed and stupidity.

    Maybe you could lower the retirement age for cops, teachers and firemen down to age 40, and givbe them a big pension and benefits boost. Have you tried that yet? lol