Rhode Islanders want to prosper in an economic climate that rewards hard work, encourages small-business growth, creates quality jobs, and can lead to a better life for their families. In this regard, the traditionally cited monthly unemployment rate is often used by state lawmakers as a benchmark to evaluate the effectiveness of state economic policy initiatives. However, this rate represents a very narrow glimpse of the employment health of a state and can often paint an incomplete, or even inaccurate, snapshot of the broader economic picture. Our Center has developed the Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI) as a broader and deeper measure of economic well-being to address this problem.
Covering a two-month span, the JOI for October includes new numbers for eight of 12 datapoints, leaving the Ocean State trapped in 49th place, nationally. Employment was down 1,457 from the previously recorded number, while labor force fell 1,920. Also negative was the 3,900 drop in RI-based jobs, suggesting that it isn’t just a quirk of the survey. Medicaid continued its climb, although the 443-person increase wasn’t as high as in past months. One of the apparent improvements came via SNAP (food stamps), with a 392-enrollee drop, but the state’s well-reported problems providing the benefit may indicate that the decrease isn’t based on Rhode Islanders’ need, but on the government’s incompetence.
The chart above shows Rhode Island still in the last position in New England, 49th in the country, while New Hampshire remained 1st. In their close back and forth, Vermont edged out Maine, putting them in 16th and 17th place, respectively. Massachusetts stayed put, at 31st, while Connecticut fell three spots to 39th.
For employment data to be an accurate representation of the economy in any state, it must take into account the lived experience of the people who reside and work there. Moreover, for comparisons across time and across states, additional benchmarks are necessary. While progressives value government-centric, taxpayer-funded dependency… our Center believes in the value of hard work and the free-enterprise system. I encourage you to read more about the October report by clicking here now and sharing the post on social media.