Rhode Island Key Performance Indicator Briefing for Q4 2021: RI’s Post-Pandemic Economy Grows but Still Lags the Nation in Recovering Jobs

PROVIDENCE, RI – Rhode Island’s economic outlook improved across several key measures in the fourth quarter of 2021, but the state continued to lag the nation in its economic recovery, according to the Rhode Island Key Performance Indicator Briefing for Q4, published today by the Center for Global and Regional Economic Studies at Bryant University and the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council (RIPEC).

“Rhode Islanders continue to return to work in most industry sectors, which is good news for our economy,” said Michael DiBiase, President and CEO of RIPEC. “However, as we know from the Great Recession, Rhode Island’s recovery from economic hard times can be slow and challenging. Seeing the state lag behind the nation should be an early signal that we must do more to support a return to a pre-pandemic economy.”

Rhode Island’s non-farm employment increased by 4,000 jobs over Q3, a growth rate of 0.8%. Rhode Island has regained 75% of jobs lost after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic but remains 22,100 jobs below pre-pandemic levels. The Ocean State has regained jobs slightly faster than the region but slower than the nation.

The unemployment rate in Q4 was 5.1%, compared to the New England rate of 4.8% and the U.S. rate of 4.2%. Net sales tax receipts, an indicator of demand in the economy, decreased by 4.4% from Q3 but were up sharply year-over-year. GDP increased in Q3 2021, though at a slower pace than in Q2. While most industry sectors experienced growth in Q4, the education and health services sector (the state’s largest) lost jobs.

The data set used to create the Briefing is available here.

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