Another jobs report, another opportunity to brace yourself for government spin. I’ll put up my regular employment post tomorrow and a new Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI) post on RIFreedom on Monday, but with tweets like this those from Patrick Anderson and Ted Nesi, a separate point is worth making. Here’s Nesi’s tweet:
RI payrolls are now above 490,000 for the first time since 2007, per DLT. Unemployment rate steady at 5.5%.
For the record, payrolls were over 490,000 in March, which may seem like being nitpickety, but not if anybody’s making a point worth making. If the idea that crossing 490,000 is some kind of milestone, then we should admit that it’s taken a long, long time to get there. And to pre-address spin that we might see from Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo’s office, she deserves almost no credit… maybe the opposite of credit. Growth has slowed.
Jobs based in Rhode Island hit bottom in July 2009, at 455,900. The seven years to this July’s 490,900 puts the compound annual growth rate (CAGR; the average annual increase) at 1.06%. That’s not anything to write home about.
Making matters worse, if we look at just the year for which our current governor might credit her policies, the growth rate appears to be slowing. It was 1.03% from July 2015 to last month.
So, yes, any growth at all will eventually hit any particular height. We should remember, too, that 490,000 is arbitrary. If we should pick the peak number of jobs that Rhode Island had in December 2006, 495,700, we still have a year or so to go. It’s a good thing we’re not overdue for another recession.