As somewhat expected, an update to income numbers lost Rhode Island its improved rank on the September 2018 Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI) from the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity, bringing the Ocean State back to 47th in the country. Six of the 12 datapoints in the index were updated for September, although Rhode Island remains the only state not updating its SNAP (food stamp) data, due to the UHIP debacle.
Employment was up from the first-reported number for July by a small 170 people, while the labor force actually dropped 319. In keeping with these results, RI-based jobs came in exactly the same for September, after having dropped significantly the month before.
Unfortunately, the number of Rhode Islanders relying on Medicaid went in the opposite direction, following a drop last month with an increase of 439 enrollees. When it comes to SNAP, the inability to update the numbers may be hurting Rhode Island, inasmuch as 45 states saw a reduction in this benefit, which registers as a positive for the index. Meanwhile, annualized personal income was up 4%, which wasn’t enough to prevent the Ocean State from losing ground compared with other states.
The Ocean State saw no change in any of the subfactors that go into its overall JOI ranking. The drop in place to 47th resulted from New York’s 6% increase in income.
The first chart shows RI last in New England. New Hampshire leads the region, with 3rd place, nationally. Vermont was steady at 13th, while Maine held 16th. Massachusetts also did not move, from 35th, but Connecticut managed to gain a spot, to 38th.
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 September 2018 Jobs & Opportunity Index factors were:
- Job Outlook Factor (optimism that adequate work is available): RI remained 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.