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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The Case for Expanded Educational Choice in Rhode Island

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The Case for Expanded Educational Choice in Rhode Island

Return to Ed Choice homepage here | Go to BrightToday.org website

The Rhode Island public school system is failing far too many students and families. Collectively, our schools yield one of the lowest values in New England and the nation when it comes to educational performance as compared with per pupil spending. The public recognizes this major problem for our state.

Bright Today FinalWhile some long-term reforms ...

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Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, November 2014: RI’s Different Path

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The United States hit a milestone, in November, with the average state now claiming more employed residents than it had during its pre-recession peak.  Rhode Island, by contrast is headed in the other direction.

According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in November, a net 507 Rhode Islanders lost employment, while 2,052 left the labor force — which means they’ve stopped looking for work.  That’s why the unemployment rate is going ...

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Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, October 2014: Flatlining and Worse

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The commentary coming out of Rhode Island’s monthly employment data for October has generally been about the mixed results.  Employment (people who tell interviewers that they are working) was up 1,124 people from September, but the labor force (people telling interviewers that they are working or looking for work) was down 336, while jobs (tax and survey data about jobs that actually exist in Rhode Island) were down 2,600.

Some of the commentary has suggested that Massachusetts is hiring Rhode Islanders at ...

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Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, September 2014: What RI Worry?

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Rhode Island was one of only 14 states to lose employment in September, according to data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  Unemployment in the Ocean State fell to its lowest level since June 2008 (7.6%), but the “improvement” of that metric continues to result from the fact that more people are giving up and leaving the labor force than are losing their jobs, each month.

The first chart below shows the large (and likely-to-be-revised-downward) increase in employment ...

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