5 charts you need to see on jobs and unemployment in Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – More than a decade after the Great Recession, how are working Rhode Islanders doing?

A new report from the Economic Progress Institute, a local left-leaning think tank, seeks to shed some light on that question by offering a host of charts tracking employment and job trends in Rhode Island.

Here are five charts from the report, “The State of Working Rhode Island 2017,” that are worth seeing. You can click on each one to expand it. (Note that most of the data is through 2016, not 2017.)

1. Rhode Island’s unemployment rate has come way down.

Rhode Island’s jobless rate soared during the Great Recession, peaking at 11.3% in 2010. It’s now back down at pre-recession levels.

The report also notes, “Rhode Island has gone from having the highest unemployment rate among all states in 2014 to having the 21st highest unemployment rate by September 2017.”

2. But the employment level among prime-age workers is still off.

The unemployment rate does not count workers who have left the labor force altogether, so economists use a second metric to get a broader view of the jobless – the employment-to-population ratio, or the percentage of all adults who are employed.

This chart shows that employment among prime working-age adults, those ages 25 to 54, was still well below its pre-recession level as of last year. But employment among older adults has been rising steadily.

3. The more education you have, the more likely you’re employed.

As has long been the case, workers appear to have an easier time finding a job the more education they have completed. The unemployment rate was still nearly 10% last year for Rhode Islanders who did not finish high school, while it was only 3.4% for those with at least a bachelor’s.

4. Lots of part-time workers would prefer a full-time job.

While most Rhode Island workers with a part-time job are not looking for a full-time one, just over 15% did wish they had one as of 2016. That number was still elevated compared with before the recession.

5. Latino Rhode Islanders are keeping the population stable.

Rhode Island’s overall population grew less than 1% between 2000 and 2016, adding about 8,000 residents. New data out last week showed continued slow growth.

Under the hood, though, there has been a much bigger swing: the number of non-Hispanic residents has declined by about 58,000 since 2000, but the number of Latino residents has grown by even more. Elsewhere in the report, it’s projected Latinos will make up 24% of the Rhode Island labor force by 2040, up from 14% last year.

 

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com. He writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook

An earlier version of this post contained inaccurate versions of charts one and five as provided in the first released version of this study; the revised first chart corrects the percentages for 2002, and the revised fifth chart slightly changes the total increase in the Latino population.