ECONOMIC INDICATORS

Revised data shows more jobs than estimated in R.I. 1Q

BLOOMBERG FILE PHOTO/MATTHEW STAVER
REVISED DATA from the R.I. Department of Labor and Training showed 7,000 more jobs than originally estimated during the Ocean State’s first quarter.
Posted 8/1/12

(Updated, 11:15 a.m.)

CRANSTON – Revised data from the R.I. Department of Labor and Training showed 7,000 more jobs than originally estimated during the Ocean State’s first quarter.

The new estimate for Rhode Island jobs as of March 2012 is 464,700, a 1.5 percent increase of 7,000 jobs from the 457,700 originally reported in April.

Earlier estimates showed that Rhode Island-based jobs actually dropped year-over-year by 2,200 from March 2011 to March 2012. The new estimate shows that Rhode Island-based jobs likely increased by 4,800 during that period.

“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,” Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee said in a statement.

The first quarter tax data showed increases in job counts in the accommodation & foods services industry, which was 2,400 jobs higher than earlier estimates. The professional & business services and construction industries increased 1,700 and 1,600 jobs from prior estimates, respectively.

The tax data showed decreases in both the manufacturing and private-sector educational services industries, which saw job counts decline by 900 and 700, respectively.

Monthly estimates are based on a survey sample of 1,600 Rhode Island employers, whereas quarterly estimates, which have a much smaller margin or error, are based on data from roughly 32,000 employers.

The revised tax data showed that the construction, retail trade, health care & social assistance, arts, entertainment & recreation, and accommodation & food services industries, which all reported year-over-year losses originally, likely grew jobs from March 2011 to March 2012.

Conversely, both the information and manufacturing sectors, which posted job growth from March 2011 to March 2012, now register job loss during that period.

According to the DLT release, once a year, all states use four quarters of tax data to revise a year’s worth of survey-based employment estimates. These revisions are usually released in late February or early March of the following year.

The Department of Labor and Training opted to release its own revisions on a quarterly basis to “better track the progress of the economic recovery,” according to the release.

When asked if the revised numbers affected the state's unemployment rate, Christine Hunsinger of the governor's office told Providence Business News that the revised data was "definitely good news" but that it was a different indicator and is measured differently than the actual unemployment rate, and thus she could not comment as to how it would affect Rhode Island's unemployment rate.

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