Rhode Island, Land of No Jobs & Opportunity

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This week, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity released its second monthly iteration of the Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI).  With eight of the 13 data points that make up the index having been reported, Rhode Island’s score improved a little, although we’re still 48th in the nation.  Nonetheless, we did slip some, compared with our New England neighbors… not that there’s any danger of any New England states overtaking us, since we’re already trailing the pack.

 

The area of increase merits a closer look.  Where Rhode Island improved was the Job Opportunity factor, which puts the state’s labor force, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in the numerator and three alternative measures of unemployment in the denominator: long-term unemployed, people who are marginally attached to the labor force (i.e., they don’t count, because they didn’t look for work in the prior month, but they’d like to work except for some problem), and those who are employed part time, but would rather be full time. The alternative measures are released quarterly, so they’ll have a bigger effect when they change.

Specifically, the Job Opportunity factor saw the numerator edge up slightly (pretty much flat), and the alternative measures decreased in the denominator, leading to a better score.  Even so, some interpretation is necessary.  All told, 3,700 Rhode Islanders left that denominator, but not many were added to the numerator.  Because the labor force is both employed and unemployed, these people on the edge of Rhode Island’s working economy must have simply given up and stopped even thinking about work, to the extent that the numbers can be combined in this way.

What all this parsing indicates, more than anything, is how painfully stagnant Rhode Island is.  We need to have clear improvements to the economy, as proven by people working, new jobs, and higher total income.



  • Russ

    “Because the labor force is both employed and unemployed, these people on the edge of Rhode Island’s working economy must have simply given up and stopped even thinking about work, to the extent that the numbers can be combined in this way.”

    How many retirees left the workforce during that period? How about the number who left for reasons other than lack of work? Am I correct that you for instance count women on maternity leave as if they have given up looking for work?

    • Mike678

      If the same data is used across all states, then your question is fairly meaningless, isn’t it? Unless of course you can show that RI has a higher percentage of retirees and women (or men) on maternity leave.

      • Russ

        No, you simply can’t assume that every state has the same population demographics (which they don’t) or the same number of people taking time off to care for sick parents, etc. (which is statistically unlikely in any given year even with similar demographics).

        fwiw, RI provides TDI benefits for maternity leave, which I think we can agree does increase the number of new mothers leaving the workforce to care for children and the amount of time they are able to spend out of work (only California, Hawaii, New York, New Jersey, and Puerto Rico do the same if I’m not mistaken). That’s a major factor and apparently one that reduces the JOI of those parents and newborns.

        • Mike678

          Perhaps, but neither can you assume the opposite. Discounting the conclusions based on assumptions and or questions one may have without actually assessing the facts is what many do to discount ideas/concepts they prefer not to believe. Human nature….

          • Russ

            LOL, I didn’t assume. I cited a specific example of how RI is different. Discount that if you like.

            That demographics vary and that people leave the workforce for reasons other than lack of work is not really in question. In fact, most people leave for reasons other than lack of work.

            http://www.cbsnews.com/news/why-are-people-leaving-the-workforce/
            “There’s no clear reason why people are leaving the workforce, and the issue has ignited a fierce debate among economists. One trend that they seem to agree on? About half of the decline is due to baby boomers entering their retirement years.”

            Ignoring that just means the conclusions drawn about lack of jobs, etc. are just guesses with data.

          • Mike678

            Yes–you showed how RI is different. But what you didn’t show was the effect of the difference. The numbers could skew the conclusions–but what are those numbers?

            Your assumption is that because RI is marginally different, the data will favor your conclusion. You could be right, but you have provided no proof.

            Show us the data. Show us that RI retirements are higher than other NE states–that will cast doubt on the conclusions. Show us that Maternity leave #’s are higher. Until then, you only have opinion that your masquerade as fact. .

          • Mike678

            And the truth shall set you free–if you are aware enough to perceive it.

          • guest

            “Perhaps, but neither can you assume the opposite. Discounting the
            conclusions based on assumptions and or questions one may have without
            actually assessing the facts is what many do to discount ideas/concepts
            they prefer not to believe. Human nature….” That’s funny, Mike because that’s all you do even when it comes to Justin’s silly index.

          • Mike678

            HI Troll. Good to see you are as fact-free as ever.

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