March 1, 2013

The Mysteries of Employment Statistics

Justin Katz

According to a news release from the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT), there are actually 800 fewer people employed in Rhode Island than previously thought. But that's a good thing... because even more people gave up looking for work than we thought. Recovery!

Continue reading on the Ocean State Current...

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When I was studying such things, there was a phenomenon known as "frictional unemployment". This term described people who were voluntarily "between jobs". I believe that used to be figured at 3%, and was a constant in unemployment figures. It appears this has been expanded to include such people as recent college graduates who are voluntarily not employed while awaiting an opportunity in the field of their choice. I am not sure how this adds to the discussion, but thought I would throw it in.

I have also noticed the arrival of a new phrase among recent graduates, "I am working as". As in "I have a degree in Marketing but I am working as a house painter".

Posted by: Warrington Faust at March 1, 2013 3:05 PM

The "unemployment rate" that gets reported in the media provides only a very rough sketch of the actual labor trends of a state. Using the unemployment number alone to evaluate the economic health or unhealth of a state is grossly irresponsible (looking at you, Chafee, GA, and media enablers). Over a long enough recession or period of economic hardship, the unemployment rate will almost inevitably fall simply because of the way it is calculated and who is excluded over time.

A much better way of evaluating the issue, as you point out, is looking at the trends in the job force versus how many "eligible" workers there are in the state. A state could have a 4% unemployment rate with half of its healthy, eligible workforce sitting on welfare or disability (or running a progressive blog), not looking for gainful employment. I don't think even the most deluded defender of the status quo would consider that a healthy situation.

Posted by: Dan at March 1, 2013 3:25 PM

Just had to throw this one in. This morning I looked at a small multi-family (3 units) near Angell Sq. The price was $220,000 and the tax bll is $12,000. I suppose this could be "made to work" for a live in owner, but what a tax burden. I have always assumed that the East Side carries the city, but 6-7% of the value annually?

Posted by: Warrington Faust at March 2, 2013 1:19 PM

"nuff" said........Same as it ever was....

Posted by: ANTHONY at March 3, 2013 1:53 AM

Does anyone know how much income tax revenue the state brought in last year then fiscal year 07 when there were more jobs?

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at March 8, 2013 10:01 AM
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