Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, June 2015: RI Bucks Southern New England Trend?

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The June employment data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides a good lesson in a number of the ways in which the data can be misleading. For one thing, looking at the unemployment rate, one could say that Rhode Island dipped below 6% for the first time since November 2007. Of course, one could have said the same thing last month. But the BLS revised May up ...

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Making RhodeWorks Work for Rhode Islanders

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As an alternative option to fund repairs of the Ocean State’s crumbling bridge and road infrastructure, a “pay as you go” approach that prioritizes current general revenue in the budget would provide budget certainty and save over half a billion dollars in wasteful, non-productive financing and overhead costs for Rhode Islanders, compared with Governor Gina Raimondo’s RhodeWorks plan, which increases Rhode Island’s debt burden and tolls the trucking industry to pay for it.

Specific savings that can be achieved by adopting ...

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Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, May 2015: Hockey Sticks and Cliff Jumping

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The headline news is that Rhode Island’s unemployment rate dipped below 6% in May for the first time since November 2007, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). For some perspective, a fifth grader grinding out the space between Thanksgiving and Christmas when the Ocean State’s unemployment rate left the 5-6% range behind was preparing to graduate from high school when it slipped the other way.

Improvement in Rhode ...

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Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, April 2015: The Annual Wait for Realistic Numbers

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In a news report that drifted into this author’s awareness, recently, an analyst explained Rhode Island’s employment boost in terms of seasonal changes. To the contrary, the numbers are supposed to be seasonally adjusted (to bring out underlying trends), and the pattern of this year looks a lot like the patter of last year. Rhode Island begins the first six months with an inexplicable jump in employment, which levels off ...

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Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, March 2015: A Return to Seasonal Overstatement?

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Rhode Island’s employment data has developed a seasonal pattern — and it isn’t captured in the “seasonal adjustments” that the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) applies to the data. Throughout the spring and early summer, employment numbers in the Ocean State undergo inexplicable improvement with no relation to other empirical or anecdotal evidence in the state. In the latter half of the year, the increases stop, perhaps receding a ...

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POLICY BRIEF: Welfare Reform in Rhode Island

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POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS: In tandem with plans to realign the institutional incentives of Rhode Island’s welfare services, the RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity recommends the following specific reforms:

  • Implement a cash diversion program for new enrollees. Thirty-three other states have such measures to provide lump-sum cash assistance in lieu of full enrollment in the state’s welfare program.
  • Decrease the lifetime limit for assistance through the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program from its current 48-month limit.
  • Enforcement. Increase accountability by implementing ...
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Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, February 2015: The Darker Way to Improve the Unemployment Rate

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If Rhode Islanders haven’t completely tuned out reports about the state’s unemployment rate, they may have heard the triumphant call, this week, that not only has their state climbed out of the lonely pit in the bottom three of the national ranking, but it’s no longer even last in New England. Looking at the data, however, shows how inapplicable a metaphor like “climbed out” is.

According to the federal Bureau of ...

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Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, January 2015: After Revision, Still in Decline

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The headline that people invested in Rhode Island’s status quo would like to see, based on the latest employment numbers for the state, is that the unemployment rate is now 6.5% — the best since early 2008 and fully eight slots from worst in the country. As the charts below show, such a headline would be misleadingly sunny.

According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in January, a net 1,489 ...

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Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, December 2014: With Revision Looming, the Job Market Erodes

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Labor force and employment numbers from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) are due for their annual revision, soon, and there’s reason to believe Rhode Island will see its 2014 lose some of its rosey sheen. However, even before that happens, if it happens, the state’s unemployment rate — which fell below 7% in December for the first time since April 2008 — does not indicate what most residents ...

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Education Analysis: RI and National Test Score Trends, Steam Runs Out on Reform

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Judging by trends visible using the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s online, interactive tool to compare scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests, Rhode Island’s period of education reform produced some improvements, but they appear to have hit a political ceiling.

Key findings show that for Rhode Island students:

  • Previous performance improvements from earlier in the 2000s have flat-lined in recent years
  • Overall performance is worst among all New England states
  • Hispanic performance is last among New England states
  • Low ...
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