economy

Aaron Read / RIPR

The state’s unemployment rate ticked down in January, compared to the same month a year ago.  The rate is now 6.5 percent; the state’s lowest since the start of the recession.

That’s down more than two percentage points since January of last year (when it stood at 8.6).  It’s been seven years since the state’s unemployment rate has been this low, back in February of 2008.  Despite the good news, Rhode Island’s unemployment rate remains higher than the national average, of 5.7 percent.

Business leaders are expressing concerns about Governor Gina Raimondo’s proposal to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, effective in 2016.

Laurie White, president of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce said she doesn't oppose the wage hike, but points out it could cause unintended consequences, especially for small businesses.

“Which would be potentially the shrinkage of hours for workers and also the potential that fewer jobs would be created,” said White.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Rhode Island is among 15 states whose shellfish industry is at long-term economic risk from the effects of ocean acidification. That’s according to new study funded by the National Science Foundation.

The Gina Raimondo era in Rhode Island government starts with her inauguration as governor next Tuesday.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is poised next month to win his first full two-year term to what is considered the most powerful post in state government. The Cranston Democrat won a battle for the speakership last March following the resignation of his predecessor, Gordon Fox. Mattiello sat down in his Statehouse office this week to discuss his priorities for 2015 and a host of other issues.

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