On Past Twelve
Admittedly, gut-based prognostications are easily dismissed — a bit like guesses of the number of jellybeans in a jar. In the case of unemployment trends, it’s more akin to guessing the number of jellybeans that won’t be in the jar tomorrow, and to be honest, I’m not sure so-called educated guesses are much more firmly based.
The news is that RI’s unemployment rate has jumped a full percentage point, to 12.1%, which makes my standing ballpark of 14% more plausible, as the experts ratchet theirs up to 13%. Thanks to the General Assembly’s predictable, but disheartening, failure to release a budget, as opposed to an instructional pamphlet on prayer-based juggling, I’m adjusting my prediction, as well. President Obama solidified Rhode Island’s likelihood of 14%, I’d say, and the General Assembly has done the extra work, lately, to drive it over 15%.
The disclaimer is that we’re in uncharted territory, here, and the unemployment number may not cease its rise for the foreseeable future. This is particularly concerning:
The national unemployment rate also rose, from 8.9 percent in April to 9.4 percent in May. Unemployment in Massachusetts grew slightly during the same period, from 8 percent in April to 8.2 percent in May.
Even putting the concrete effects of the state budget aside, its huge power to demoralize puts a new, brighter light on the single-digit unemployment rates of elsewhere for ambitious workers and employers.