November 22, 2008

Looking for the Bottom

Justin Katz

So what level of unemployment do you think Rhode Island is really going to hit?

The latest jobs report is grim even in light of the economic forecast released yesterday by the nonprofit New England Economic Partnership. The NEEP economists predicted that during the next two years, Rhode Island would lose nearly 15,000 more jobs and unemployment would hit 10 percent, probably by the end of next year.

But the pace of the decline is swifter than predicted. The October job losses already account for more than 70 percent of the 3,400 jobs that NEEP had forecast the state would lose during October, this month and next month.

Surely losing another 0.7% during several years of recession is optimistic. Actually, a different article in yesterday's paper puts the bottom at 10.3% within the next two years, which seems improbably low considering that last month saw a 0.5% decline. At that rate, we'll hit 10.3% in two months. But here's the depressing thing:

After Rhode Island, Maine could be next in line, with a projected peak unemployment rate of 8.7 percent.

Connecticut and Massachusetts would land in the middle, with each at 8.3 percent. And New Hampshire could peak at 7.4 percent, with the lowest spike in unemployment in Vermont, at 6.9 percent.

That's right, the second worst predicted unemployment rate in New England is well below what Rhode Island is currently experiencing. The situation in the other four states will only get as bad as things were here six months ago, or so, back when we were all only beginning to worry.

And Rhode Islanders actually further entrenched the power of the folks who did this to our state. It's going to be a winter of cold, cold reality.

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wait till after christmas.......most companies lay off after the holidays...

for 3 reasons...they need employyees for the holiday season, they dont want to ruin anyones holidays and january and february are usually very slow months.

there will be another spike in will then start to see unemployed leave the state bacause of no prospects here.

i know if i was younger or knew somone younger, i would be encouraging them to relocate.....

of course this creates a brain drain

Posted by: johnpaycheck at November 22, 2008 9:03 AM

"And Rhode Islanders actually further entrenched the power of the folks who did this to our state."

See that little NOTME ghost running around the corner?

Posted by: Pat Crowley at November 22, 2008 12:34 PM

And when Rhode Islanders dare challenge the folks who did this to our state, they're routinely condemned as too liberal. Go figure.

Posted by: rhody at November 22, 2008 2:27 PM

It appears that the economic stimulus package equals the extraordinary oil company profits and inflation in related services during the same period. So, nothing went toward stimulating, it merely maintained high prices. Economic stimulation could have meant more jobs for RI.

If the economic stimulus package had arrived after deflation, people would be able to buy more products which would have stimluated the overall economy. Gas taxes are per gallon, not a percent of the sales. So, increased gas prices and decreased use actually reduced local tax revenues - futher squeezing our ability to maintain services and infrastructure.

In line with deflation and the tough times being faced by all RI households, the NEA should reduce it's member dues by 50%. They should be able to cut their lobbying expense since, according to Bob, most of the people they endorsed got into office.

Also, it seems like the oil profiteering was greatly impacted by the proliferation of big machines being sold out of Detroit. Perhaps the bailout for those companies should come from Big Oil, since they were the beneficiaries and essentially received our stimulus checks.

Posted by: Robert Balliot at November 22, 2008 3:06 PM

Today's ProJo has a small mention that on Monday BBC World News is going to air a piece highlighting Rhode Island's bad economy.

No doubt they got the idea from the Sunday NYT front page article of a few weeks ago.

Thanks to the Democrat General Assembly, Rhode Island is becoming the international poster child of bad economic policy and economic decline.

Further publicity reinforcing to the business world that Rhode Island is hostile and not a place in which you want to be an employer - which means that even as the national economy starts to recover (and it hasn't bottomed yet), Rhode Island will, as it has for decades, lag behind.

But hey, Elizabeth Roberts is being proactive by engaging in a photo-op tour encouraging us to shop in Rhode Island. Who needs tax policy, regulatory or educational reform in RI - we just need to shop here instead of lower-taxes Massachusetts and that'll turn this state around!

Posted by: Tom W at November 22, 2008 3:11 PM

But hey, Elizabeth Roberts is being proactive by engaging in a photo-op tour encouraging us to shop in Rhode Island. Who needs tax policy, regulatory or educational reform in RI - we just need to shop here instead of lower-taxes Massachusetts and that'll turn this state around!

this is truly sad... to think this will have have anything but a miniscule impact is just incredible.

lr has been a champion of so many of the causes that generate sound bites...

btw..what ever happenned to her health care reform????she got some headlines but nothing else. whats the point??

Posted by: johnpaycheck at November 22, 2008 3:33 PM

>>btw..what ever happenned to her health care reform????she got some headlines but nothing else. whats the point??

The point is that it's all just "photo-opping" and posturing for a gubernatorial run.

In fairness to her, this is typical of the politician class.

Similar dynamic no doubt with Constantino's magicial manufacturing mystery tour this week - it's all about looking like they're doing something and getting the press to cover it. How long has that clown been in the General Assembly, and he's just now soliciting comments from (what remains) of the business community????

The tragic part is that decades of policy and fiscal mismanagement by the Democrat General Assembly is finally coming home to roost - the swoon in the national economy has shown just how hollowed-out Rhode Island's economy really is. We were weak to begin with, and so this national swoon is prompting Rhode Island to head into what could well be conditions reminiscent of the "Great Depression" ... and all the Democrat politicians seem capable of doing is hiding behind closed doors (Murphy) or engaging in photo-ops to "show their concern."

Posted by: Tom W at November 22, 2008 3:47 PM


Hawaii is projected to bottom out at 5.5% unemployment next year before the republican and democratic state and city government projects kick in creating up to 11,000 new and spin off jobs related to the new 20-mile $4.5 billion light rail public transit system (A 0.05% surcharge was added to 4% general excise tax FY-2007 to FY-2025 to pay for construction and operation).

There are over 3,000 major construction projects on going which between years 2008 and 2025 over 42,000 new jobs are projected to be created not including additional jobs created by Republican Gov. Linda Lingle’s “green initiative” to reduce State of Hawaii’s total fossil fuel dependence 70% by year 2030.

November 19th Walt Disney Co. broke ground for an $800 million themed hotel/resort (first ever out of theme park) on Oahu and when done will create over 1,000 new jobs.

Hawaii is expected to exit from recession by 2010 due in part to early expedited corrective measures put in place by republican governor, democratic general assembly, city and county elected officials including department of education which was able to cut budget 20% without eliminating programs or instituting layoffs.

Gov. Lingle did not attend the Republican Governors Conference in FL. but was out pounding the pavement and visiting other countries along with the LT. Gov. and tourist bureau officials to bring more tourists to Hawaii which she succeeded in getting new commitments for 2009 and 2010.

See what can happen when finger pointing is replaced with bipartisan work ethnics!

It would be nice to see RI’s Smith Hill working together.

BTW: This was the type of political environment Obama grew up in Hawaii.

Posted by: Ken at November 23, 2008 1:19 AM

The R.I. Governor would have done well if he had passed on the trip to Florida even if he had to deprive himself of the spa treatment and the company of the celebrity governor from Alaska.(I hope he checked on his tax obligation for the vacation homes) This has been the hallmark of this Governor's tenure to date. Ideological and partisan issuses get his attention and the state's floundering not so much. Sure he'll go on the radio talk shows and talk a good game, blame workers and their unions, get some national air time in the immigration issue but he will not do the things nessecary to get people working.( Unless the worker is related and worked on his campaign) From working against port developement, Narragansett Indian gaming, but enforcing E Verify and sadly instead of promoting the state to those who may locate here does the opposite. Ken's description of the situation in HI with its political leaders responding to their economic downturn when compared to the situation here makes one despair at least for the next two years.

Posted by: Phil at November 23, 2008 7:43 AM

Right Phil, blame the Governor . LMAO
Yep, the Dem's have run this state for years and people like you send them back time and time again. The blame game, you Democrates have got it down to a science. I sure in your mind some how Bush is to blame with the Governor. Oh wait. E-verify! RI citizens are out of work but that last time I check the illegals in this state still are holding jobs. We can thank you Phil and all jerks like you who voted these guys back in office.

Posted by: RiverFox at November 23, 2008 9:32 AM

How about establishing RI as a center for short sea shipping?It works very well in Europe,relieves road congestion,and provides employment because it depends less on automation than containerports.RI has the port facilities and geographic location to make out very well as a center for this mode of tranportation industry.

Posted by: joe bernstein at November 23, 2008 12:54 PM

Good idea Joe.

Mr. Fox I sent one Democrat back to the RI House and tried to send a Socialist to the Senate.

Posted by: phil at November 23, 2008 9:18 PM


As a former born; raised die-hard Rhody person of over 50 years let me add some insight:

Hawaii has the same basic political make up as Rhode Island. A Republican Governor; Democratic controlled General Assembly; a heavily unionized state and a lot of individual family members living in the state.

Where there is a difference; Hawaii is ranked 47th in size with 6, 423 sq miles stretching almost 1,600 miles long and Rhode Island ranked 50th in size with 1, 045 sq miles (approximately 35 min by 90 min drive to cover state).

Hawaii has 1 state government; 1 school department and 4 county seats of local government with 4 mayors

Rhode Island has 1 state government and 39 cities and town governments with 36 school departments.

Hawaii is small but unlike Rhode Island, you have over 2,000 miles to “walk on water” if you publically offend political, general public, family members or disgrace family name. I’ve seen 2 elected officials ousted from office because they were stopped driving and arrested for DUI.

People living in Hawaii have learned to reach consensus when disagreements or problems arise and do not disgrace the family name.

I believe what Phil was commenting on was the fact Hawaii politicians as a whole took the bull by the horns and wrestled it to the ground with the impending recession (Hawaii also does state sustainability studies; current report is out to 2050) whereas Rhode Island (Smith Hill as a whole) showed no leadership in tackling the impending recession problem.


No politics involved!

If you are interested, the latest campaign to increase tourism in Hawaii is offering 3 to 7 or more days in Waikiki Beach (24/7 never sleeps, night clubs close 4 AM) at “2007 prices” complements of the Hawaii Tourist Bureau (Providence to Honolulu with RT air and 7 night hotel plus car “per couple” as low as $2,000 total).

Hawaii is the only state in the U.S.A. that grows coffee; chocolate beans and where you can snow ski or snowboard (Nov to Mar) a 2 mile run with 4,000 ft vertical drop; golf on an luscious tropical challenging ocean-front wind swept 18-hole PGA golf course and swim in 80 degree ocean water at a warm white sand tropical beach all in the same day still being in the U.S.A.

During Christmas holiday season (starting day after thanksgiving to Christmas Eve) there is a holiday parade (up to 2,000 marchers and 40 floats) almost every day in Honolulu.
Average daytime winter temperature is 78 degrees.

joe bernstein,

Nice idea but, you have to get it buy Sal Kaplan and EDC who is pushing “high paying” white collar jobs (IT; BIO and Tech) and letting the blue collar (bread N’ butter) jobs go down the drain. The business world is not built on $50, 000 plus jobs. You’ve got to have some business geared around laborers $50,000 and below jobs.

Posted by: Ken at November 23, 2008 11:00 PM


Thanks for the information. I've travelled much of the U.S. by truck and would love to go to your state. I recognize that I would have to change the mode of travel to achieve that goal.

Posted by: Phil at November 24, 2008 8:43 PM

I don't think Sol Kaplan would have any interest in what I say.I have no background in business or economics.I just see things and observe if they appear to be working out.

Posted by: joe bernstein at November 25, 2008 11:26 AM
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