As I’ve been noting in my monthly employment posts (most recent here), apart from an uptick in recent months, employment growth has been almost non-existent in Rhode Island for the past year, and jobs based in Rhode Island have been increasing at a glacial pace, if at all. Ted Nesi points to a related indication of an unhealthy job market in the Ocean State:
The Pew Charitable Trusts said the employment rate for Rhode Islanders ages 25 to 54 has fallen from 83% in 2007 to 78% in 2016, a statistically significant drop of 5 percentage points. While that’s an improvement from the low of 75% reached in mid-2012, the positive trend has reversed this year after a period of rising employment.
The strategy that our governor and legislature are pursuing is one of giving direct incentives to selected companies while spending taxpayer resources to change the character and skills of our people to match what an even narrower group of employers say they want in employees. That strategy may produce some helpful PR hooks with a nice story in the newspaper from time to time (although it may also produce stories of incompetence and scandal).
It’ll be less likely, though, to move the overall numbers significantly, inasmuch as it simply shuffles Rhode Islanders’ efforts and resources from what we’d do with them on our own to what a domineering government prefers.