Economic Perspective

With all the talk that you’re sure to hear over the next year about “Bush’s recession” and (usually separately) Rhode Island’s financial troubles, it’ll be crucial to maintain proper perspective:

Rhode Island payrolls shrank for the second straight month in December and the unemployment rate climbed to 5.5 percent, its highest level in more than a year, a government report released today shows.
The state Department of Labor and Training reported that the number of unemployed people last month increased to 31,800, the highest number since June 1995.
Massachusetts last month lost 2,700 jobs, and the unemployment rate rose two-tenths of a percentage point, to 4.5 percent.
The national unemployment rate last month was 5 percent.

Anybody who wishes to lay the blame for Rhode Island’s troubles at any other doorsteps than those of the state and local governments has to explain why the economic policies of Mr. Bush (to pick one likely target) leaves Rhode Island behind the national average, and twice as far behind its “closest” neighbor.

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