NEW: Report Says RI Added Jobs in 1st Quarter

Wednesday, August 01, 2012


A recent analysis of tax data shows that Rhode Island job growth exceeded original estimates for the first quarter of 2012, according to the RI Department of Labor and Training.

The new estimate for Rhode Island-based jobs as of March 2012 is 464,700 jobs, up 7,000 from earlier numbers reported in April. The earlier estimate indicated that Rhode Island-based jobs had dropped over a year’s time by 2,200. However, the new estimate shows that Rhode Island-based jobs had likely increased by 4,800 from March 2011 to March 2012.

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Governor Lincoln D. Chafee says, “It’s heartening to have hard data that confirms what we’ve been hearing from individual employers: that the economic recovery in Rhode Island may be more steady than we had originally thought.”

First quarter tax data also shows significant increases in job counts in the following industry sectors:  Accommodation & Food Services—revised to 43,800 jobs, up 2,400 jobs from earlier estimates. Professional & Business Services—revised to 55,900 jobs, up 1,700 from earlier estimates. Construction—revised to 16,800 jobs, up 1,600 from earlier estimates.

Tax data also shows moderate decreases in job counts for the following sectors: Manufacturing—revised to 40,000 jobs, down 900 from earlier estimates. Educational Services (private sector only)—revised to 25,200 jobs, down 700 from earlier estimates.

Monthly estimates are based upon a survey sample of 1,600 Rhode Island employers. The quarterly estimates are based on data from approximately 32,000 employers, and therefore have a smaller margin of error. According to the Department of Labor and Training, the monthly survey is

The revised data also shows a change in over-the-year trends for a number of industry sectors. The industry sectors of Construction; Retail Trade; Health Care & Social Assistance; Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; and Accommodation & Food Services all originally reported over-the-year losses, according to March 2012 survey data reported in April. However, first quarter tax data shows that each of these sectors likely grew jobs from March 2011 to March 2012.

Conversely, the Information and Manufacturing sectors, which had originally posted job growth from March 2011 to March 2012, now registered over-the-year losses.

Once a year, all states use four quarters of tax data to revise one year’s worth of survey-based employment estimates. These revisions are usually released in late February/early March of the following year. However, the RI Department of Labor and Training has chosen to release its own revisions on a quarterly basis, to better track the progress of the economic recovery.

While the monthly survey-based estimates may not be as accurate as the quarterly tax data, they still service an important purpose. “Quarterly data is not available in as timely a manner as survey data,” says Director of Labor and Training Charles J. Fogarty. “Monthly data is still valuable, because it allows the state to monitor employment patterns in real time.” Fogarty adds that all states use uniform methods to calculate the monthly employment estimates, under the supervision of the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.


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