slides: RI Employment Situation is Worse than Reported
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
The Department of Labor recently reported that Rhode Island's unemployment is now ranked as the worst in the country. Last week, the RI Department of Labor and Training released the state's unemployment rate from November (9.0%), which was down slightly from October (9.2%), but still ranked as the highest in the nation (tied with Nevada). The National Unemployment rate for the month of November was 7.0 percent .
But new data shows that over the past few years, Rhode Island's employment rate has been lagging much of the country and for a long period of time.
According to State officials in Rhode Island, the number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment—was 49,500, down 900 from the previous month. Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 6,600.
Employment Trends are among the worst in US
According to data released by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Ocean State has shown a drop of 5.7 percentage points in its employment rate since 2007, ranking as 7th worst in the nation for adults aged 25-54.
In 2007, 82.5 percent of Rhode Islanders in that demographic were employed; and as of Fiscal Year 2013, that number dropped to 76.8 percent. While no U.S. States showed employment gains in that span, Rhode Island was only New England state to drop by more than five percent.
The lack of improvement in the unemployment rate and as the Pew study shows Rhode Island has had very significant decline in the percentage employed.
Attempts to reach the Office of Governor Lincoln Chafee, and the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training and for comment were unsuccessful.
See how the employment market for each of New England's states have fared in the slides below:
Pew Research: New England Employment Figures From FY2007 to FY2013
While unemployment figures receive more media attention, the employment rate is a preferred index for many economists because it provides a sharper picture of changes in the labor market. The unemployment rate, for example, fails to count workers who stopped looking for a job. By focusing on 25- to 54-year-olds, trends are less distorted by demographic effects such as older and younger workers’ choices regarding retirement or full-time education.
Below are the employment rates in FY2007 and FY2013 for New England states as referenced by the Pew Charitable Trust's "Fiscal 50: State Trends and Analysis" Report, ranked from best to worst.
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