Saturday, March 10, 2012

Rebenchmarked Payroll Employment: We're Falling!!!

The recently rebenchmarked labor market data for Rhode paint a very dismal picture. Not only was payroll employment here less than had been thought through much of 2011, it has actually been falling for the last several months. Worse yet, not only has payroll employment been declining, it has now fallen all the way to within 700 jobs of its low since before the last recession!

Normally, I would say that a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, it is more appropriate to rephrase this to say a thousand tears. Look very carefully at the chart below of payroll employment since 2009 (click to enlarge).

So, as the US economy and most notably national payroll employment continues to accelerate, Rhode Island finds itself not only with declining employment, but it has experienced a series of monthly declines that have moved payroll employment to just slightly above the trough it attained in July of 2009, and all the way back to its level in May of 1998! All that remains between Rhode Island's January 2012 employment level and its recent trough is 700 jobs. So, as of January, 2012, Rhode Island's payroll employment remains 7.8 percent below its prior peak.

As I finish this post, let me reiterate a statistic that I have cited here on numerous occasions: payroll employment in Rhode Island peaked in December of 2006, a full year before the US employment peak. Happy 5th anniversary, Rhode Island!

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