An Incorrect Mitigation of RI’s Gloom
This statement, from an article describing the abysmal state of RI’s economy, is incorrect in a very important way:
Six months ago, those who gathered in the State House basement for the semiannual Revenue & Caseload Estimating Conference learned that Rhode Island was the only New England state “in recession,” and just one of nine states nationally with that unwelcome distinction.
“You could say Rhode Island has sort of set the trend for the United States,” said Andres Carbacho-Burgos, an economist with Moody’s Economy.com and one of a handful of independent analysts who shared a dismal economic forecast with state budget officials yesterday. “Misery loves company. And Rhode Island has plenty of it.”
No, you can’t really say that Rhode Island has set a trend, because it is incorrect to see us generally as a leading edge. I’ve heard excuse-making murmurs that Rhode Island’s size makes it quick to reveal changes, but there is absolutely no reason to believe that we’ll precede the country in getting out of recession.
“We know that this goes far beyond housing. We’re losing jobs in every category,” said Gary Ciminero, executive director of the House Policy Office.
The state earlier in the month learned it had edged out Michigan for the highest unemployment rate in the country, 8.8 percent, the highest in 16 years. The ranks of the jobless last month swelled to 50,200, the most on record, according to the state Department of Labor and Training.
Job losses affected most sectors: manufacturing (down 6.5 percent since last September), retail (down 3.7 percent), construction (down 3.3 percent), financial activities (down 4.1 percent), professional and business services (down 2.2 percent) and state government (down 7 percent).
Rhode Island is expected to continue to lose jobs through the end of 2010, according to the Moody’s analysis.
If Rhode Island doesn’t act quickly, we may actually see an acceleration of taxpayer and business flight when other states begin to recover. And if RI doesn’t even follow the nation on an up-trend, we’re in more trouble than most of us care to consider.