Despite some positive numbers, Rhode Island couldn’t shake its 47th place ranking on the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI) in April 2018, and even slipped on one of the three subfactors of the index. On the Job Outlook Factor, which gauges Rhode Islanders’ optimism about job opportunities, the Ocean State fell five spots, to 22nd in the country. Overall, eight of the 12 data points of the index changed for this iteration.
Employment was up from the first-reported number for March, by 975, while labor force was up 842. RI-based jobs increased, as well, by 1,000. Medicaid enrollment improved from the previously reported number, with a decrease of 907, while SNAP (food stamps) showed no change. (Reporting problems related to the Unified Health Infrastructure Project may be an issue, here.)
Alternative measures of unemployment were also updated. Long-term unemployment (15 weeks or more) fell a little, by 200 people, while significantly fewer people (1,300) say they are involuntarily working only part time. Another 800 Rhode Islanders say they are “marginally attached,” meaning that they would potentially like to work, although the data does not indicate whether this change of attitude represents a move toward or away from job searches.
The first chart at shows RI 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 and Vermont remained in place, at 17th and 21st, respectively. Again, Massachusetts fell one, to 35th, while Connecticut held on to 37th.
The second chart shows the gap between RI and New England and the United States on JOI. In both cases, the Ocean State lost a little ground. The same was true of the official unemployment rate, shown in the third chart.
Results for the three underlying JOI factors were:
- Job Outlook Factor (optimism that adequate work is available): RI fell five slots to 23rd.
- Freedom Factor (the level of work against reliance on welfare programs): RI remained 42nd.
- Prosperity Factor (the financial motivation of income versus taxes): RI remained 47th.