RI regains 22% of jobs lost in recession as Mass. passes 100%

It’s a tale of two states.

Massachusetts achieved a happy milestone in January, as employment in the Bay State reached 3.31 million jobs – passing the pre-recession peak of 3.3 million reached in April 2008, and meaning Massachusetts has regained all the jobs the state lost during the Great Recession.

“The numbers are really pretty remarkable,” one private-sector researcher marveled to The Boston Globe.

They also offer a grim contrast with the numbers in Rhode Island, which has only regained 8,700 of the 39,600 jobs it lost during the downturn. Put another way, Massachusetts has recovered 110% of the jobs it lost during the recession; Rhode Island has recovered just 22%.

Here’s a chart – Rhode Island is blue, Massachusetts is red, and 100 equals previous peak employment:


A caveat: the 496,400 jobs Rhode Island had in its peak month (December 2006) was the state’s all-time record high, but the 3.304 million jobs Massachusetts had at its previous peak (April 2008) was not. The highest-ever employment level in Massachusetts was 3.385 million jobs back in February 2001, before the dot-com bubble burst; the Bay State still has 66,500 fewer jobs now than it did then.

Here’s what the same chart looks like if 100 equals the all-time highest employment level for each state:


IHS Global Insight predicts Rhode Island won’t return to its pre-recession number of jobs until sometime after 2017, or at least half a decade from now. Only Nevada and Michigan are in the same boat:


• Related: RI has lost 10% of its prime working-age population since 2006 (March 4)

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