September 26, 2009

This Extended Recession Brought to You By: The General Assembly and Friends

Justin Katz

The Providence Business News points to a Forbes article that puts Rhode Island at the leading edge... of business unfriendliness. Yup, we rank number 50 on a list of the Best States for Business, with the following subranking:

  • 2008 rank: 45
  • Business costs: 40
  • Labor: 35
  • Regulatory environment: 50
  • Economic climate: 48
  • Growth prospects: 18
  • Quality of life: 21

Providence Business News attributed the higher ranking in growth prospects to "projected growth in jobs, incomes and economic output, as well as its rate of net new businesses and venture capital investments." One should keep in mind, though, that when you're at the bottom, like Rhode Island, growth rates should be easy to come by. It would be useful to know, too, when the work for this list was performed; the change in our capital gains tax won't likely help when it comes to "venture capital investments."

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Do you expect me to believe Forbes Magazine?
I get my info from Patsy Crowley and the NEA, and they say that things are just fine.
What can Forbes Magazine possibly know that they don't???

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at September 26, 2009 7:40 AM

This simply can't be true.
The Providence Journal editorial board is always singing the praises of Rhode Island's Impotent Emperor, House Speaker Bill Murphy as a business friendly reformer, a visionary. lol
How can this be? Forbes must have it wrong.

Posted by: Tim at September 26, 2009 12:53 PM

Forbes seems to have a serious problem with data analysis.

Their article evaluating Stressful Cities, shows Providence with a population density of 975 people per square mile. That is about 10% of the actual density. That error was repeated over and over again in their 'study' for other cities. They give 2008 US Census Bureau as their resource, but the data does not match.

It seems that any reporter conducting an analysis would know that 975 people per square mile is not an urban city nor qualify as a stress factor. There are so many error in the presentation, that it should never have made it past editorial review.

Posted by: Robert Balliot at September 26, 2009 2:36 PM

FYI, Robert, they define "Providence" as the greater Providence/Fall River area. Mass has a much lower population density than RI. That may account for the discrepancy you cite.

Stipulating, however, that they made such an error, it is in a completely unrelated article. How does it affect the article that Justin references?

Posted by: Monique at September 26, 2009 5:21 PM

If you're skeptical about the veracity of the Forbes business climate data for Rhode Island, just look at our employment rate. Look at all the companies moving to Rhode Island and creating new jobs. Contrast that to the results seen in business-friendly states like Texas and Virginia.

Posted by: George at September 27, 2009 8:50 AM

Monique -

The population density of Fall River is 2,963.7 per square mile.

If you fail to question the 'science' or potential bias behind a coal mine employee's web site on global warning, errors in Forbes reporting should not matter.

Rhode Island could and should have one of the healthiest business environments in the country. It has many, many advantages over other states because of size, logistics, and location.

Posted by: Robert Balliot at September 27, 2009 12:43 PM

Monique is right. The most updated version of the State and Metropolitan Area Data Book available online from the United States Census Bureau lists the population density of the Providence-Fall River-New Bedford metropolitan statistical area as exactly 1000 people per square mile (1,600,856 people divided by 1,600.9 square miles of land area). As 1,000 people per square mile is much closer to the 975 people per square mile reported by Forbes (according to Robert) than to any of the "true" figures as defined by Robert, the claim that Forbes has made an error in its reporting should be retracted (presuming that the claim was made by someone who wants to be taken seriously as an Internet ombudsman).

And Robert, science isn't about agreeing with authority. It's about trying to honestly evaluate the best theories and information available.

Posted by: Andrew at September 27, 2009 1:57 PM

Robert, thanks on two fronts for bringing up my "Man Contributes Only 6% of Greenhouse Gases" post again.

The first is, if you re-visit the link, you'll find that the source of those numbers is the US Dept of Energy, not a data spinner for some coal mining company.

Secondly, have you made any progress on coming up with your own percentages as to the generation of greenhouse gas, man versus Mother Nature?

Posted by: Monique at September 27, 2009 3:53 PM
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