We’ll have a more in-depth look at this situation in the near future, but the shock of the news justifies a quick post all on its own: According to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT), the unemployment rate actually went up in August. While the country as a whole improved from 10.2% to 8.4%, Rhode Island slipped from 11.3% to 12.8%.
That’s despite the fact that the labor force went down. When the labor force decreases, the unemployment rate can often go down because people who aren’t looking for work at all simply aren’t counted. But in August, 15,700 Rhode Islanders stopped looking for work.
Consequently, the increase in the unemployment rate came from the 22,100 new people who weren’t employed. This is after the state started opening up from Governor Raimondo’s COVID-19 lockdown and as the federal subsidy for staying unemployed went down some.
This is a terrible, terrible sign of the direction of the state, post-COVID. I wrote, yesterday, about the opportunity to leverage a crisis in order to change for the better. One wonders how many Rhode Islanders are deciding that means they should move their talents and labor somewhere else.