[Excerpt] When most of the nation was recovering from the Great Recession, Rhode Island was on a different path. From June 2009 to June 2016, national employment increased by 10.1 percent while employment in Rhode Island increased by only 5.1 percent. To examine why Rhode Island lagged behind employment growth rates nationwide, this Beyond the Numbers article compares industry employment growth trends in Rhode Island with overall growth trends over the 2009–16 period for the United States, using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program. This 7-year period generally coincides with the national economic recovery, which officially began in June 2009.
Using methodology that can be used for any state, this article isolates the impact of industry job growth on overall statewide job growth. The analysis suggests that had employment growth in the state’s largest supersector, education and health services, matched that of the national average, the gap between overall state employment growth and the national average would have closed by more than half. Specifically, job losses in the colleges and universities industry, within the educational services sector, and the hospital subsector, within the healthcare and social assistance sector, were responsible for depressed overall growth in this supersector and the state overall.