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.


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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!

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