August Employment Data for Rhode Island and the Nation

Once again, the headline is that Rhode Island’s unemployment rate fell another tenth of a percent, to 10.7%.  And at least it’s true, this month, that employment went up instead of down.  (The past few drops in the unemployment rate were a result of people giving up their job searches, so they weren’t counted in the statistics.)

But people continued to leave the state’s labor force, and the employment increase wasn’t exactly dramatic, giving the impression that our decline hasn’t turned around, but has edged toward stagnation.


Broadening the view, though, there’s almost (almost) a silver lining in that the rest of the country declined more rapidly, as Connecticut shows dramatically in the following chart:

RI, MA, and CT Labor Force and Employment as a Percentage of Jan. 2007 Labor Force, Jan. 2007 to Aug. 2012


And it wasn’t just Connecticut and Massachusetts. An update of the nationwide chart’s from the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s review of employment data up to July shows that, while Rhode Island is still performing uniquely badly, the rest of the country is drifting.

United States August 2012 Employment Percentage of Pre-Crisis Peak by State


United States Employment Growth by State, February 2010 to August 2012


Of the following two issues related to Rhode Island’s public schools, which one is a greater concern?

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