NYT notes RI's job-loss pain


The Ocean State's dubious distinction in passing Michigan as the US unemployment leader gets national exposure today by Pam Belluck:

“I hate to say it but a distinct improvement for Rhode Island right now would be to have our economy be dead in the water,” said Leonard Lardaro, an economics professor at the University of Rhode Island, who compiles an index of Rhode Island’s economic health. “Statistically this is the worst year. Clearly we’re going down faster than other states.”

Saul Kaplan, executive director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, a quasi-state agency, said the situation “could likely get worse before it gets better,” adding, “ironically, we were the home of the Industrial Revolution.”

Rhode Island has often taken economic crises hard, even as Northeast neighbors, especially Massachusetts and Connecticut, showed more resilience.

“Historically, Rhode Island is one of the first states to feel it and one of the last to come out of it,” said Amy Kempe, a spokeswoman for Gov. Donald L. Carcieri, who has cut about 1,500 jobs from the state payroll in the last year. “With this economic downturn, Rhode Island definitely started to feel the pinch a year ago.”

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