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.