PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island remained 48th nationally on the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s monthly Jobs & Opportunity Index report in October, and again is the last state in New England on the economic index.
The center, which bills itself as nonpartisan and nonprofit, said this week that relative long-term unemployment security concerns dropped the state’s total score, keeping it third-lowest in the U.S. on the ranking.
Rhode Island’s score fell to 17.5 in October from September’s 17.9 on the index, which ranks states on a scale from 0-100 on factors including job outlook, which measures optimism that adequate work is available; freedom factor, which measures the level of work against reliance on welfare programs; and prosperity factor, which measures the financial motivation of income versus taxes.
Rhode Island fell to 39th from 36th on job outlook, was unchanged at 39th for freedom factor, and held steady at 47th for prosperity factor.
Data on unemployment, Rhode Island-based jobs, labor force, Medicaid enrollment and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits is used to determine rankings.
New Hampshire ranked No. 1 in the nation on the list, boosted by its high prosperity factor. Maine was 20th, while Vermont was 21st, and Connecticut and Massachusetts were 34th and 35th, respectively.
The center said Rhode Island’s “weak JOI score” is similar to dismal results from another national study. The Family Prosperity Index also ranked the Ocean State 48th overall in 2016.
The FPI, which studies the impact of the economy on families, has placed Rhode Island either in last place or the bottom three spaces of its index since 2012. It is created by the Washington, D.C.-based American Conservative Union Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes conservative principles.