Today’s wasn’t a very good employment report for RI.

Almost since I began keeping an eye on it, the unemployment rate has primarily been a means of disguising the underlying weakness of RI’s economy.  With the latest iteration, the AP writer seems to accentuate the positive, but you don’t have to dig far to see the negative — as far, say, as the state Department of Labor and Training’s official press release.  Note, in particular:

The Rhode Island labor force totaled 568,800 in January, down 800 over the month but up 3,200 from January 2021.

Since February 2020, the month prior to the pandemic-related shutdowns, there are 2,900 more unemployed RI residents and 5,900 fewer employed RI residents. Currently, there are 3,000 fewer RI residents participating in the labor force than there were prior to the start of the pandemic.  …

Total nonfarm payroll employment in Rhode Island totaled 486,700 in January, a decrease of 1,300 jobs from the revised December employment figure of 488,000.

Accommodation and food services is down.  Manufacturing is down for the first time since April 2020.  Construction is down.  All the industries where you find working people are down.  On the other hand:

Offsetting some of the January job losses was a gain of 500 jobs reported in the Professional & Technical Services sector. The Educational Services, Health Care & Social Assistance and Other Services sectors each reported gains of 200, followed by an increase of 100 jobs in both the Government and Transportation & Utilities sectors.

As I’ve been warning for years, now, we’re becoming a “company state” in which the company is the government.  More and more, we’re being taxed to pay people to serve other people who aren’t working.  This is obviously not a workable model over the long term, requiring confiscatory taxation of the people who actually generate new wealth within the state and continual infusions of cash from other states.

Beware the year those other states decide to stop subsidizing ours!

The tragedy is that it doesn’t have to be this way.  There is a lot of dynamism in our state and our country, and a compressed spring of energy ready to rocket up if we can only persuade people to slip the weight off the top.


Featured image on Washington Area Spark.

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George W Lavoie
George W Lavoie
1 year ago

I would love to see the data on how many of the so called “RI Jobs” are actually Mass and CT jobs to which RI’ers commute or telecommute. Based on license plates I see on 95N on weekdays, “RI employment” appears to be helped overwhelmingly by better business climates in neighboring states.

Thomas Letourneau
Thomas Letourneau
Reply to  George W Lavoie
1 year ago

Ditto here. The number is huge!

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