June 2015 Employment: Jobs Down, MA Down, RI Employment Up?


As I mentioned in this month’s employment post on RIFreedom, Rhode Island had the awesome experience of getting to drop  below 6% unemployment for the first time since November 2007 for the second month in a row!  If that sounds like it doesn’t make any sense, it’s because the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revised last month’s number back up to 6%, making it a new experience to drop back down to 5.9%.  Somewhere, some enterprising bookie should be taking bets on whether the Ocean State gets to do it again next month.

It’s not impossible.  After all, as the following chart shows, the hockey stick employment data continues to take shape.  A slight revision wouldn’t change the trajectory, and an increase next month could improve the unemployment rate to the stasis once again.


The data gives two reasons to suspect the June employment number will be revised downward.  The first is that the states to our north and west, which have been doing much better with employment than Rhode Island for a long while, slowed down or lost ground in June, particularly Massachusetts.


Around the country, employment went down by a little bit, so there wasn’t much movement in the monthly distance-from-peak chart, although Rhode Island’s employment increase — at least on paper — was the biggest in the country, in June, so the Ocean State gained ground.


The final chart shows the second reason for suspecting that the employment data will be revised down.  Despite the unabated boom in employment (the darker area), when it comes to jobs that are based in Rhode Island (the lighter area), the number actually got worse in Rhode Island.  Whereas the employment numbers are based on a heavily weighted survey, the RI-based jobs numbers are rooted in tax returns.  Looking at this chart, it appears that job creation in Rhode Island has actually slowed down from its already slow pace.


  • Warrington Faust
    • ShannonEntropy

      YIKES !!

      A brick-laying machine that does 45° herringbone ??!!??

      When we had our pool deck done in brick 20+ yrs ago, the mason said a 90° herringbone pattern would be *triple* for labor … so we went with the boring “running jack” pattern

      Now my 160 ft driveway needs re-paving … I don’t want to re-do it in asphalt and pavers are a good alternative … but where can we get one of those robo-masons around here, Warrington ??

      • Warrington Faust

        I once met a mason who had previously taught English at Brown (this is not a joke). He left to help his father while a brother was ill. He found out how much money there was in a being a mason contractor and he abandoned Brown. I also know a digger who previously taught Fine Arts at Harvard before electing to join up with his father, his basement walls include bas reliefs of Roman gladiators.

  • guest

    “Despite the unabated boom in employment”…really? How much credit do you give the President for the turnaround?

    • Warrington Faust

      Could you tell us, exactly. what it is that you believe a President can do to effect employment? He has no legislative powers and very limited budgetary powers. The times make the President, the President does not make the times. Roosevelt, for all of his New Deal did almost nothing effectual to relieve us from the Great Depression, for that we owe thanks to Hitler and Tojo. Reagan seems to have made effective use of the “bully pulpit”, but he may have been riding the coattails of an economic upturn.

      • Mike678

        Not much in the positive direction except use the bully pulpit to advocate for lower taxes. But this Pres went the opposite direction–so, easier to harm through poor (and illegal) executive orders, running up the national debt (and taxes) , etc. In short, an unmitigated disaster.

    • Mario

      A real question should be why this hasn’t completely disproven Keynesian economic theories. Even I found them plausible, but when the budget deficit shrinks from $1.3 trillion in 2010 to $514 billion last year amid shrieks about the sequester and so-called austerity, economists of the left have a lot to answer for. Since the President fully endorsed the now debunked doom & gloom prophecies, if he had any hand in what we have had of a recovery, it was surely by accident.

  • Jon K. Polis

    For a more detailed analysis of the employment/underemployment/ unemployment situation;

    Refer to The Bureau Of Labor Statistics; http://www.bls.gov/lau/stalt.htm …which is updated quarterly…
    …as of 04/24/2015, Rhode Island’s Employment/Underemployment/Unemployment Rate
    of measurement at Level U6 is: TWELVE POINT NINE CENT (12.9%)….

    ….and as of 7/02/2015, the National Employment/Unemployment
    Rate of measurement at Level U6 is: TEN POINT FIVE PER CENT (10.5%)…
    (further details can be found at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t15.htm which is updated monthly….)

    The next publication of the Employment/Underemployment/Unemployment situation, broken down by State level,
    covering the previous four quarters ending in June 2015, is tentatively scheduled for Friday, July 24, 2015, so stay tuned…jkp