Rhode Island remained in 47th place on RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI) for December. The eight of 12 datapoints that changed for this iteration were a mixed bag, but overall, the implications aren’t good.
Employment was down again, 372 from the previously recorded number, while labor force edged up 172. RI-based December jobs slipped by 400. However, alternative measures of employment improved: 400 fewer long-term unemployed, 600 fewer marginally attached workers, and 800 fewer people employed only part time unwillingly. Medicaid enrollment also improved, decreasing by 3,701 enrollees, but that improvement in welfare was inverted by a 7,699 jump in SNAP (food stamps), probably resulting from resolution of the state’s backlog of applications.
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The first chart shows Rhode Island still in the last position in New England, 47th in the country. Regional leader New Hampshire is still in 2nd place, nationally, behind Wyoming. Maine overtook Vermont, however, as the the states exchanged their prior places of 18th and 20th. Massachusetts fell two slots to 33rd, while Connecticut fell one spot deeper into the bottom 10, now 42nd.
The second chart shows the gap between RI and New England and the United States on JOI. In both cases, RI’s gap eased a little. Switching to the official unemployment rate, RI’s gap also narrowed.
Results for the three underlying JOI factors were:
- Job Outlook Factor (optimism that adequate work is available): RI improved to 18th.
- 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.