Letting the Spinners Get Away with Economic Baloney
It’s getting kinda hard to take the spin that permeates economic reporting. Reporter Kate Bramson and her headline writer mainly adopt RI Department of Labor and Training Director Charles Fogerty’s line that the statistics show “slow, steady progress.” The headline and lede are, “Rhode Island unemployment dips slightly, to 10.8 percent, Still, 10.8% an improvement over numbers for December,” and the story deepens with this:
Job growth in Rhode Island is one of the positive trends in the first half of the year. Although the number of jobs dropped from May to June by 1,500, Rhode Island had 4,200 more jobs in June than in December. That six-month growth is an increase of 0.9 percent — which Fogarty said is “outpacing the nation.”
A quick glance at the accompanying table, mostly taken from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ page for Rhode Island unemployment, shows that, while the number of unemployed Rhode Islanders dropped by 4,891, the number of people working also dropped, by 5,362. That is, the overall labor force shrank by 10,153 and hasn’t been this small since September 2009.
As for the increase of “jobs based in Rhode Island” since December, a closer look at the month-to-month statistics (which are all that are easily found) suggests that the uptick is mainly in construction and accommodation and food services, which can be expected to increase in Rhode Island this time of year.