Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, February 2014: Still Last

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Rhode Island’s employment picture for February gives a positive impression, on first look. Put in the contexts of the past and of the country, however, it’s not quite as sunny.

On the first count, the numbers show a boom in employment, out of nowhere. We’ve seen such results every year for the past several, and they’ve always been followed by significant downward revisions.

On the second count, although Rhode Island was second strongest (after ...

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The Economic Impact of the Above-Market Deepwater Contract

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Published in Cooperation with the Beacon Hill Institute

Deepwater Impact

On December 13th, National Grid supplied new details about its contract with Deepwater Wind to purchase power produced by its proposed offshore wind farm. The contract calls for above-market rates, with the total cost estimated in the response along with other details.[1] Based on the underlying assumptions that the project will produce 125,000 MWh of electricity, requiring an annual capacity of 47.8%, the paper predicts a total of $474.3 million ...

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Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, January 2014: Dead Last

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Rhode Island’s 9.2% unemployment rate is worst in the nation by a half-percentage-point margin.  No other state really comes close.  Worse yet, for the first time since we started tracking these numbers, the Ocean State is the farthest in the union from its pre-recession employment peak.

The first chart below illustrates the story pretty well.  After two years of employment free-fall, Rhode Island experience a little bit of a rebound.  Within six months, however, there began to ...

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RI Health Benefits Exchange Costs Exceeding Even Center’s Projections

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Implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Rhode Island, with both the health benefits exchange (called HealthSource RI) and the expansion of Medicaid to cover able-bodied low-income adults, has been a lesson in government operation. The policies were put into place — and over $100 million in federal tax dollars were spent — without significant public discussion and with no plan to cover the costs, and we’re now learning that projections of costs were wrong in several critical aspects.

The ...

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Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, December 2013: RI Alone

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The bleakest aspect of the latest employment report from the national Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is that Rhode Island is now all alone in last place.  Whereas the Ocean State moved from 9.0% unemployment to 9.1% unemployment, Nevada dropped from the same level to 8.8%.  Rhode Island is now 0.3 percentage points behind any other state in the country.

The next-bleakest aspect is that, had Rhode Island not lost so many people from its labor force — that is, if ...

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Health Benefits Exchange Surge of Enrollments, Still Expensive

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HealthSource RI has published its enrollment numbers from its opening to January 4, after the deadline to enroll for January coverage.  In continuation of our series putting the number in context, we herein present them with reference to the federal millions that taxpayers provided in order to create an online government broker for Rhode Island’s extremely limited health insurance options.

According to the Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight, under the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, ...

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Rhode Island: A Growing Population in an Abysmal Economy

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The U.S. Census is out, today, with updated estimates for the populations of each state.  The real telling data will come next month, when the Census releases the more detailed results about immigration, births, deaths, and age brackets.

Nonetheless, the buzz has begun, because 2013′s small population increase follows eight years during which Rhode Island’s population declined; this decade, it was the only state to have that result twice in a row.  That potentially positive result comes with some important caveats, ...

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Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, November 2013: Tied for Last

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Rhode Island’s unemployment rate fell to 9.0% in November, but that wasn’t enough to keep the state from falling to status as tied for worst.  According to the statistics published by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 1,044 more Rhode Islanders reported being employed than did the month before, and 130 more people reported that they’re either working or looking for work.

As the first chart below illustrates, the state has gotten at least a one-month reprieve from its ...

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Tens of Thousands in Taxpayer Start-Up Dollars per HealthSource RI Enrollee

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With HealthSource RI’s release of its latest enrollment data, we herewith update our post from last month, breaking down the per-beneficiary expense in federal grants by various categories.

By way of a reminder: According to the Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight, under the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the federal government has given $134.7 million in grants aimed, at least in part, at getting Rhode Island’s Affordable Care Act health benefits exchange, HealthSource RI, ...

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Zero.Zero and the Municipal Property Tax Cap

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At last night’s meeting of the Special Joint Legislative Commission to Study the Sales Tax Repeal Act of 2013, Director of Revenue Analysis in the Rhode Island Department of Revenue Paul Dion stated that municipalities would be prevented from realizing the increase in local revenue that the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s RI-STAMP model projects by the cap that state law places on local property tax levies.*  This is an issue that the Center investigated for our testimony ...

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