Knowing how the constituent parts of a statistic can sometimes tell a different story than the newspaper headlines about them, I was at first inclined to be optimistic when I received the RI Dept. of Labor and Training’s press release email stating that RI’s unemployment rate increased one-tenth of a percent, to 7.3%, in February. After all, an increasing unemployment rate could mean that Rhode Islanders who had previously stopped looking for work are getting back in the game, and it’s just taking a little time for them to find jobs.
One can see this dynamic nationally. The U.S. unemployment rate, which didn’t budget in February, would have fallen two-tenths of a percent had it not been for an increase in the number of people actually looking for work. That’s a good thing.
Unfortunately, those sunbeams aren’t breaking through Rhode Island’s clouds:
The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 499,600, down 1,600 from January. Last February there were 539,800 employed Rhode Island residents.
The Rhode Island labor force totaled 538,900 in February, down 1,300 from January and down 23,100 from February 2020 (562,000). …
Nonfarm employment in Rhode Island fell from 463,200 in January to 462,900 in February, reflecting a loss of 300 jobs.
The Ocean State is in crisis. COVID is waning, and people should be getting back to work, not losing jobs. Just as the first buds of spring are beginning to appear on bushes and trees, so too should our economy be giving us hopeful signs. It is not.
It’s too early in his surprise time in office to blame Governor Daniel McKee, after his predecessor, Gina Raimondo, left her state in extremely poor condition as she sought to advance her own career. Meanwhile, our legislators are debating dress codes and imposing lunatic environmental extremism on our state, guaranteeing increased economic pain and exodus.
On the latter count, there’s still a chance that the governor will veto the devastating anti-energy legislation and that a handful of (hopefully) persuadable legislators will prevent the extremists from overturning the veto. A huge difference might be made if you take a moment to sign the petition that sends an email to the governor and those legislators.
But it’s going to take more than petitions and stopping the worst excesses of the deluded people wielding power in the Ocean State. If we are going to revive our economy, we have to revive our sense of responsibility and become more engaged in what’s happening around us.