July found Rhode Island still in 47th place on the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI). Of the seven (of 12) datapoints that were updated for the June report, only one was not from the Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs and employment research. Medicaid enrollment was also the only negative marker.
Employment was up from the first-reported number for June by 1,784, while labor force was up 1,082. The larger growth of employment than labor force translated into a drop of the unemployment rate to 4.2%. RI-based jobs increased by 1,400. Also positive were the three alternative measures of employment included in the index. The number of Rhode Islanders who say that they have been unemployed for more than 15 weeks was down by 400 since number last reported. Those saying that they are working part time, but would rather work full time, were down by 1,300. Meanwhile, those who consider themselves “marginally attached” to the labor force held at 4,200. One slightly negative note came with Medicaid enrollment, which increased 197.
Given the improvements in the alternative employment measures, along with the growing labor force, Rhode Island’s rank on the Job Outlook Factor improved from 22nd to 17th. This factor measures Rhode Islanders’ feeling about whether work is available and counts less than the other two factors.
The first chart shows RI still in the last position in New England, 47th in the country. New Hampshire still leads the region, with 3rd place, nationally. Maine slipped two spots, from 15th to 17th, while Vermont remained 21st. Likewise, Massachusetts fell from 34th to 35th, while Connecticut remained 37th.
The second chart shows the gap between RI and New England and the United States on JOI. The third chart shows the gaps in the official unemployment rate.
Results for the three underlying JOI factors were:
- Job Outlook Factor (optimism that adequate work is available): RI climbed five spots to 17th.
- Freedom Factor (the level of work against reliance on welfare programs): RI remained 41st.
- Prosperity Factor (the financial motivation of income versus taxes): RI remained 47th.
Click here for the corresponding employment post on the Ocean State Current.