The Ocean State is left in 49th place, nationally, on the Center's October 2017 Jobs & Opportunity Index. Eight of twelve datapoints have been updated.

Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI), October 2017: A Mixed Report for the Wrong Reasons

Covering a two-month span, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI) for October includes new numbers for eight of 12 datapoints, leaving the Ocean State in 49th place, nationally. The results are somewhat mixed, with some improved and some worsened, but it isn’t clear that the improvements indicate positive changes rather than peculiarities of the data and a reflection of the state’s ongoing problems with its Unified Health Infrastructure Project (UHIP).

Employment was down 1,457 from the previously recorded number, while labor force fell 1,920. Also negative was the 3,900 drop in RI-based jobs, suggesting that it isn’t just a quirk of the survey. Medicaid continued its climb, although the 443-person increase wasn’t as high as in past months. One of the apparent improvements came via SNAP (food stamps), with a 392-enrollee drop, but the state’s well-reported problems providing the benefit may indicate that the decrease isn’t based on Rhode Islanders’ need, but on the government’s incompetence.

Also on the positive side, long-term unemployment, marginally attached workers, and people working only part-time involuntarily all fell (by 1,800, 400, and 3,100, respectively). However, these results could derive from the survey methodology and by workers’ just giving up, as seen in the labor force reduction.

The first chart below shows Rhode Island still in the last position in New England, 49th in the country, while New Hampshire remained 1st. In thier close back and forth, Vermont edged out Maine, putting them in 16th and 17th place, respectively. Massachusetts stayed put, at 31st, while Connecticut fell three spots to 39th.


Rhode Islanders need a credible alternative to the status quo and its destructive progressive ideas. You can help.

Click here to find out more >>>

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is the Ocean State’s leading voice against the wreckage caused by our state’s progressive agenda.

As the state’s leading research organization, advancing family and business friendly values… the mission of our Center is to make Rhode Island a better place to call home – to raise a family and to build a career.

While progressives value government-centric, taxpayer-funded dependency… our Center believes in the value of hard work and the free-enterprise system.

We understand that in order for more Rhode Island families to have a better quality of life, that more and better businesses are needed to create more and better jobs.

Your donation will help us to bring you the monthly Jobs & Opportunity Index to fight the union-progressive narrative and, instead, advocate for pro-family, pro-business policies and values.

Please make a generous, tax-deductible gift to support our Center today!

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The second chart shows the gap between RI and New England and the U.S. on JOI. In both cases, RI’s gap worsened. Switching to the official unemployment rate, RI’s gap slimmed slightly. Results for the three underlying JOI factors were:

  • Job Outlook Factor (optimism that adequate work is available): RI improved 12 places, to 21st.
  • 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.


The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is the Ocean State’s leading voice against the wreckage caused by our state’s progressive agenda.

As the state’s leading research organization, advancing family and business friendly values… the mission of our Center is to make Rhode Island a better place to call home – to raise a family and to build a career.

While progressives value government-centric, taxpayer-funded dependency… our Center believes in the value of hard work and the free-enterprise system.

We understand that in order for more Rhode Island families to have a better quality of life, that more and better businesses are needed to create more and better jobs.

Your donation will help us to bring you the monthly Jobs & Opportunity Index to fight the union-progressive narrative and, instead, advocate for pro-family, pro-business policies and values.

Please make a generous, tax-deductible gift to support our Center today!

Improvements in the Ocean State’s employment picture were undone by loss of income on the Jobs & Opportunity Index, June 2017.

Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI), June 2017: Employment Estimates and Income Diverge

Having skipped a month, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity registered a larger amount of movement in its Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI), but improvements in the Ocean State’s employment picture were undone by loss of income. Additionally, the state’s reduction in SNAP enrollees — which may be indicative of distribution problems, rather than a decrease in residents’ need for the service — was not enough to overcome a Medicaid increase and broader trends.


Rhode Islanders need a credible alternative to the status quo and its destructive progressive ideas. You can help.

Click here to find out more >>>

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is the Ocean State’s leading voice against the wreckage caused by our state’s progressive agenda.

As the state’s leading research organization, advancing family and business friendly values… the mission of our Center is to make Rhode Island a better place to call home – to raise a family and to build a career.

While progressives value government-centric, taxpayer-funded dependency… our Center believes in the value of hard work and the free-enterprise system.

We understand that in order for more Rhode Island families to have a better quality of life, that more and better businesses are needed to create more and better jobs.

Your donation will help us fight the union-progressive movement and, instead, advocate for pro-family, pro-business policies and values.

Please make a generous, tax-deductible gift to support our Center today!

show less


Nine of the 12 datapoints (now counting state and local taxes as one) used for the index are newly updated. Employment was up 1,727 from the previously recorded number (for April), while labor force rose 1,054. (This is a continuation of an annual surge in these numbers typically revised away.) RI-based jobs increased by 2,000, and SNAP enrollment continued a decreasing trend, this time dropping 9,539 since the last JOI report. Medicaid enrollment, however, increased by 1,307. Turning to money, personal income (including earnings as well as various forms of investment) dropped $378 million on an annualized basis, while federal taxes increased $234 million. A $48 million drop in state and local taxes barely dented this $612 million gap income-to-tax gap.

The first chart shows Rhode Island still in the last position in New England, 48th in the country, while New Hampshire remained 1st. Elsewhere in New England, Vermont edged ahead of Maine, although both fell in national rank, to 21st and 22nd, respectively. Meanwhile, Massachusetts opened up its gap ahead of Connecticut, reaching 31st to the Nutmeg State’s 36th.

The second chart shows the gap between RI and New England and the U.S. on JOI. RI gained some on the U.S. average but lost ground in New England. Switching to the official unemployment rate, those results flip, although movement relative to the U.S. was minimal.

Results for the three underlying JOI factors were:

  • Job Outlook Factor (optimism that adequate work is available): RI jumped three, to 29th.
  • Freedom Factor (the level of work against reliance on welfare programs): RI took one step, to 41st.
  • Prosperity Factor (the financial motivation of income versus taxes): RI fell one, to 47th.

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is the Ocean State’s leading voice against the wreckage caused by our state’s progressive agenda.

As the state’s leading research organization, advancing family and business friendly values… the mission of our Center is to make Rhode Island a better place to call home – to raise a family and to build a career.

While progressives value government-centric, taxpayer-funded dependency… our Center believes in the value of hard work and the free-enterprise system.

We understand that in order for more Rhode Island families to have a better quality of life, that more and better businesses are needed to create more and better jobs.

Your donation will help us fight the union-progressive movement and, instead, advocate for pro-family, pro-business policies and values.

Please make a generous, tax-deductible gift to support our Center today!