The RI job market is in even worse shape than we thought

State officials released their annual revised employment data Thursday, and the news is grim.

Until now, it had been possible to hold out hope the annual February/March benchmark revisions to the employment data – which replaces the original survey results with more comprehensive data – would show a brighter picture in the job market than initially reported. But the new data dashes those hopes.

As this chart shows, Rhode Island’s unemployment rate was higher than initially reported during all but one month of 2013 (January), finishing the year at 9.3% rather than 9.1%:RI unemployment rate original vs benchmark revised March 2014That wouldn’t always be bad news – sometimes the unemployment rate goes up because more people are joining the work force, out of growing optimism about job prospects. But that wasn’t the case here: the revisions show even more Rhode Islanders left the labor force – 9,900 total – during 2013 than originally reported, with about two-thirds of that reduction caused by a decline in the number of employed residents.

All of those numbers are seasonally adjusted. There was a bit of good news in the non-seasonally-adjusted numbers for how many jobs were on the payrolls of Rhode Island employers as of December: 470,800, up from the initial estimate of 467,700. However, even that number was below the 471,900 total a year earlier.

DLT also noted that the December unemployment rate of 9.3% was the lowest since November 2008.

• Related: Watch: The 5 charts you need to see to get RI’s jobs crisis (Jan. 23)

An earlier version of this post incorrectly said unemployment was higher in all but two months of 2013.

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