Looking for the Bottom
So what level of unemployment do you think Rhode Island is really going to hit?
The latest jobs report is grim even in light of the economic forecast released yesterday by the nonprofit New England Economic Partnership. The NEEP economists predicted that during the next two years, Rhode Island would lose nearly 15,000 more jobs and unemployment would hit 10 percent, probably by the end of next year.
But the pace of the decline is swifter than predicted. The October job losses already account for more than 70 percent of the 3,400 jobs that NEEP had forecast the state would lose during October, this month and next month.
Surely losing another 0.7% during several years of recession is optimistic. Actually, a different article in yesterday’s paper puts the bottom at 10.3% within the next two years, which seems improbably low considering that last month saw a 0.5% decline. At that rate, we’ll hit 10.3% in two months. But here’s the depressing thing:
After Rhode Island, Maine could be next in line, with a projected peak unemployment rate of 8.7 percent.
Connecticut and Massachusetts would land in the middle, with each at 8.3 percent. And New Hampshire could peak at 7.4 percent, with the lowest spike in unemployment in Vermont, at 6.9 percent.
That’s right, the second worst predicted unemployment rate in New England is well below what Rhode Island is currently experiencing. The situation in the other four states will only get as bad as things were here six months ago, or so, back when we were all only beginning to worry.
And Rhode Islanders actually further entrenched the power of the folks who did this to our state. It’s going to be a winter of cold, cold reality.