Rhode Island is Among the Worst in a Bad Economy
Does the release of yet another set of statistics showing how badly Rhode Island is doing economically still count as news? The answer, unfortunately, is yes, as Rhode Island still manages to find its way to the bottom of the pack when states are ranked in terms of their economic performances, a measure which takes into account the nationwide slowdown.
Yesterday, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis released its initial state-by-state gross domestic product (GDP) figures for 2008. While growth across the country was slow, just 0.7% above the previous year, 37 states still managed to show positive economic growth of some kind. Rhode Island, however, was one of 12 states showing negative economic growth, with its gross state product of shrinking by 0.9%, the 5th worse change in state GDP in the nation.
The negative growth cannot be blamed on our location. Of the six New England states, Rhode Island ranked last in GDP change, with 4 of the states showing positive growth (Massachusetts leading the way, at 1.9%).
Consider the above data to be a Rorschach test about what you believe the source of Rhode Island’s troubles to be. Do you look at the above figures and say, well when the nation is doing badly, it’s inevitable that Rhode Island will be doing even worse, so there’s nothing we can do (a symptom of what I believe University or Rhode Island Economics Professor Leondard Lardaro would call an endogenous view of Rhode Island’s troubles) — or do you look at the figures and think that they point to a need to fix something in Rhode Island that’s broken?