Can Anything Stop RI’s Unemployment Rate Escalation?
This month’s iteration of a grim series of headlines:
R.I. jobless rate: 11.1%
Unfortunately, the series finale doesn’t appear to be likely any time soon:
A group of economists testifying at the State House in early May projected that Rhode Island’s unemployment rate would peak at 12.3 percent in 2010. One of the economists was Andres Carbacho-Burgos, of Moody’s Economy.com. In a phone interview Thursday, Carbacho-Burgos said Rhode Island’s rate of job loss should begin to slow soon, and there might even be some slight job gains, perhaps 5,000 jobs, toward the end of next year. But real improvement probably won’t take place until 2011, he said.
Yup, that says 2011, as in two more years of job declines. As in a forty-month run of losses.
Of course, the wrong moves in state and local government could exacerbate the problem. Yesterday’s headline was that our rate of population loss has slowed, probably because Rhode Islanders are trapped and see no significant improvement of their odds elsewhere. Imagine the change in that dynamic when the state lags the national recovery, as is widely expected.
By contrast, if the General Assembly were to take some bold steps designed to attract businesses and give current managers, owners, and consumers confidence in the state’s future, Rhode Island could actually lead the recovery. Part of the advantage of being so low is that it takes much less to advance.