Unemployment, Jobs, and Taxes

We’ll have to await more-descriptive data, but the latest on unemployment in Rhode Island suggests that the state may have found the key to lowering its rate. Indeed, for November, unemployment fell 0.2%, to 12.7%, and 2,100 more Rhode Islanders are working. The available information isn’t yet sufficiently granular to know how many of those newly employed folks are seasonal temps or part time or how many people gave up on job searches, last month.
Still, it may be that we’ve been too harsh on Senate Majority Leader Dan Connors and Senate President Theresa Paiva-Weed. Along with the above statistics, employers report having eliminated 1,300 jobs. Additionally:

… despite the improved unemployment figures locally, DLT said the average weekly claim load for unemployment insurance benefits climbed to 36,281 in November, a gain of 2,295 — or 6.7 percent — over October’s average because of increased eligibility.

It appears, in other words, that the way to bring down the state’s unemployment rate is to drive people out of the job market and out of the state more quickly than we lose jobs. Theoretically, if there were zero non-government jobs, we could still have a zero percent unemployment rate.
So let’s have those tax increases for which legislators have been floating trial balloons. After all, we’ve got to fund those who’ve decided that they don’t even care to look for work, and the more pesky unemployed ambitious people whom we can remove from our statistics, the better we’ll feel.

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