PROVIDENCE, RI – Rhode Island’s economic outlook improved in several key measures in the first quarter of 2022 but challenges persist, according to the Rhode Island Key Performance Indicators Briefing, released today by the Center for Global and Regional Economic Studies at Bryant University and the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council (RIPEC).
“We are continuing to see growth in Rhode Island’s workforce, but we still have fewer jobs than before the pandemic, and the state is trailing the region and nation in employment and GDP growth,” said Michael DiBiase, President and CEO of RIPEC. “Given these trends, there is need for continued support for Rhode Island’s economic recovery,” he added.
Rhode Island’s unemployment rate fell from 4.7 percent in Q4 2021 to 3.9 percent in Q1 2022 and the state added 4,200 jobs quarter-over-quarter. Net sales tax receipts (seasonally adjusted), an indicator of demand in the economy, were 11.2 percent greater than in Q1 2021 but were somewhat lower (0.5 percent) quarter-over-quarter. The labor force participation rate fell by 0.2 percentage points (to 63.2 percent), marking a second consecutive quarter of decline. Across the U.S., the labor force participation rate is at a low not seen since the early 1980s.
The Ocean State has regained 82.5 percent of jobs lost during the pandemic, whereas New England has regained 83.7 percent of jobs and the U.S. has regained 91.8 percent of jobs. In Rhode Island, construction and professional and business services are the only major industry sectors to have recovered 100 percent of jobs lost during the pandemic. While most major industry sectors gained jobs in Q1 2022, the financial services, information services, and manufacturing sectors experienced losses.
Rhode Island’s Q4 2021 GDP growth of 5.1 percent marked a third consecutive quarter of growth, but the state’s GDP growth trailed that of New England (7.6 percent) and the U.S. (6.9 percent). GDP data for Q1 2022 are not yet available.