Exodus Means Less Reason to Stay
Seasonality is likely a factor, but I’d been intending to offer the anecdotal testimony that the help wanted sections of various local and state papers are more sparse than I’ve ever seen them. Apparently, it isn’t just my impression:
Job vacancies in Rhode Island declined from 10,949 in spring 2006 to 8,637 last summer, a drop of 21.1 percent. It’s a trend that continues from 2005, when Rhode Island job vacancies numbered 12,114. Economic analysts said the drop in job vacancies indicates a slowdown in the Rhode Island economy. …
The median hourly wage for full-time occupations also dropped, from a range of $14 to $15 an hour last year to a range of $12.10 to $13.28 an hour this year. Murray said the drop is probably due to the decline in vacancies for some of the higher-paid job classifications, such as management or finance and insurance. …
“The figures on the surface indicate the need to grow Rhode Island’s economy much faster. We need to get existing Rhode Island companies to expand, and to lure other companies into the state,” [William B. Sweeney, professor emeritus of economics at Bryant University,] said. But Sweeney said the state deficit looms as “a long-standing problem” in creating a climate that will bring business to Rhode Island.
Edward M. Mazze, Distinguished University Professor of Business Administration at the University of Rhode Island, also said the job vacancy figures indicated bad news. “Rhode Island is going into its own recession,” he said. Mazze said there is a lack of confidence in the state’s economic future and that, generally speaking, the state’s economy is not creating new jobs.
More on it later, but news from the General Assembly doesn’t offer much encouragement that the legislators truly understand the problem and what needs to be done. Best case scenario — and I’m well beneath optimism, myself — is that the General Assembly puts on an ineffective show this year and the voters express enough disapproval in the fall to scare next year’s General Assembly into actually doing something.
Like I said, though, my optimism is decreasing more rapidly than Rhode Island’s median wage.