A Faster Fall in Rhode Island
Slipping from 5.2% to 10%, Rhode Island led the nation in unemployment growth:
The rise in Rhode Island’s unemployment rate led the nation last year, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Only North Carolina, where unemployment grew by 4 percentage points, and Nevada, where it increased by 3.9 percentage points, approached the 4.8 percentage-point spike in Rhode Island.
Rhode Island’s year-end unemployment rate, 10 percent, was not the worst in the country; that was Michigan’s ignominy.
But the Ocean State’s economy is by far the most troubled in New England. Connecticut, where 7.1 percent of job seekers could not find jobs last month, has the region’s second-highest jobless rate. It is followed by Maine (7 percent), Massachusetts (6.9 percent), Vermont (6.4 percent) and New Hampshire (4.6 percent).
It’s past time we rewrite the owner’s manual for our state. The governor’s latest budget proposal took (ultimately modest) steps in the right direction, and it’s been nearly unbearable to watch the General Assembly twiddle its thumbs with hearings, as if waiting for the windfall de l’année to tumble down from Mount Obama.
Citizens and officials alike must realize that the year will come when no surprise miracle money will be available, and the longer we wait to retool the state — to make it an economic leader in New England — the farther will be our fall.