Rhode Island’s Labor Force Smallest Since 2005
Friday, July 20, 2012
Rhode Island’s unemployment rate is back below 11 percent, but the labor force has shrunk to its smallest size January 2005, according to the June’s jobs report issued by the Department of Labor and Training (DLT).
At 10.9 percent, the state is expected to continue to have the second or third-highest unemployment rate in the country. In May, the national unemployment rate was 8.2 percent.
The report comes just days after reports that Capco Steel, a major Providence construction company, has been unable to pay back a $5 million loan guarantee provided by the EDC. The company has lost hundreds of jobs and roughly $85 million in contracts since 2008, according to founder Michael Caparco.
June’s jobs reports shows the state lost 300 Government jobs, 200 jobs in Financial Activities and 100 jobs each in Accommodation & Food Services, Educational Services and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation sectors.
The fractional drop in the unemployment rate seems to confirm URI economist Dr. Leonard Lardaro’s theory that the state’s economy is recovering at a slow pace.
“Rhode Island’s economic outlook in May is similar to that from April: the current tepid recovery is continuing, although signs of a loss of momentum have become more readily apparent,” Lardaro said earlier this week. “The good news is that Rhode Island is still in the recovery that began in February of 2010, which as of May reached its 27th month. The concerning news is that like the US, our rate of improvement has slowed.”
Lardaro blamed state leadership for being “badly out of touch” with the state’s economic reality.
“I keep hearing many of our state’s leaders say things like ‘When the recession is over’ and ‘When things turn around,’” Lardaro said. “These persons are badly out of touch with our state’s economic reality. Rhode Island is in a recovery and has been so since February of 2010. Things have already turned around — this is it! They need to acknowledge the sad reality that we’re more likely to continue slowing from here, not magically get better. This would be a very good time for them to finally begin implementing needed changes.”
Dan McGowan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @danmcgowan
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