John Bender / RIPR

Big box store Target announced last week that a security breach exposed the credit and debit card information of some 40 million customers.

But asthe hours ticked down toward Christmas that didn’t keep Ocean state shoppers away.

With less than 48 hours to go before Christmas morning, a steady stream of customers moved in and out of the Target store at the Warwick Mall.

Many customers seemed unfazed or unworried by the security breach, and most continued to use their credit and debit cards.

Fred and Helen Butts were among many holiday shoppers.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

The hours are dwindling to Christmas and the annual shopping frenzy is on.

Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay says we should shop local to support the Rhode Island the Rhode Island economy, and details what Congress can do to help.

Scott MacKay’s commentary can be heard at 6:35 and 8:35 every Monday on Morning Edition and at 5:50 on All Things Considered. You can also follow his political reporting and analysis at our ‘On Politics’ blog at

Home Sales Surging Back In Rhode Island

Nov 27, 2013
Courtesy RI Housing

October was another good month for home sales in Rhode Island.

The sale of single family homes in Rhode Island rose 19 percent between October 2012 and October 2013. During the same time frame the median price rose from $200,000 to $204,000.  Sales of condos rose 11 percent over the year and the median price is up 17 percent.

Rhode Island Association of Realtors president Robert Martin said growth in the housing market is slow and steady with no negatives.

Rhode Island Community Food Bank.

The Rhode Island Community Food Bank is out with its annual report on hunger.  It shows the recession is still playing a very large role in the lives of Ocean State residents.

The Rhode Island Community Food Bank is now serving 68-thousand people a month, up three percent from a year ago and an all-time high.  At the same time, food donations are down by nearly two million pounds, said Food Bank CEO Andrew Schiff.


The latest employment numbers for Rhode Island are a mixed bag.

The state’s unemployment rate ticked up one-tenth of a point in September then held in October at 9-point-2 percent. But Rhode Island has added 35-hundred jobs since July.

Sectors seeing the largest growth were Professional and Business Services and Accommodation and Food Services. Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training Director Charles Fogarty said construction has also seen a nice bump over the past few months.

John Bender / RIPR

After sitting vacant for four years the Providence Arcade, one of the country’s oldest indoor shopping malls, has reopened.

Now the building, built in 1828, is getting a new life.

A bike shop, a jewelry store, and a café and bar were among the first wave of new stores to open in the newly renovated Arcade.

In all, eleven of the seventeen shops to be housed in the historic mall were ready for business during the first phase of its re-opening.

How do you define a start-up? And are these entrepreneurial businesses finding what they need to thrive and grow in Rhode Island?

Host Dave Fallon speaks with Philip Eil, editor of the Providence Phoenix, about Rhode Island's entrepreneurial landscape.

The partial government shutdown is proving to be a problem for some American home buyers.  Most lenders require income verification through the IRS.  The verification requirement is problematic because most IRS functions have been suspended.  

Victoria Doran, president of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors, says it hasn’t caused a logjam yet but will if the government shutdown continues much longer.


It seems sometimes like every Rhode Island business and political leader points to the better economy in Massachusetts. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay looked across the state border and finds more myth than reality.

Rhode Island businesses say they're optimistic about the state's economy and their own prospects, though they're not yet confident enough to make major capital investments.

That's according to a new survey, as RIPR host Dave Fallon learns from Providence Business News' Mark Murphy in this week's Bottom Line.

A little more than a year ago, the Rhode Island Foundation gathered more than 300 people from across the community to brainstorm ways to boost the state’s sagging economy.

Cliff Walk Repairs On Hold As Bid Is Examined

Sep 24, 2013

Repairs to the Cliff Walk in Newport destroyed by Superstorm Sandy are on hold as the Department of Transportation is examining an unusually low bid that has been submitted.

The bid for repairs came at 3 million dollars; about 2 million less than most of the others.

The low amount raised eyebrows, said city official Robert Power, who was worried about the quality of the work.


Rhode Island’s politicians are talking about the economy again. Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay warns of a campaign cliché voters ought to view with skepticism

As predictable as the turning of autumn leaves, Rhode Island’s political campaigns will once again be filled with talk about creating jobs and jump-starting our stalled economy. Expect to hear the ancient Ocean State chestnut from the pols who’ll say, the biggest economic fear of Rhode Islanders is that their children can’t stay in our state because there aren’t enough jobs.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s latest data contain mixed signals about the state of Rhode Island’s economy.   The median income climbed by double digits but the state still has the highest poverty rate in the region.

While Rhode Island’s median household income climbed 14 percent from 2011 to 2012, the state remained stuck with the highest poverty rate in New England. Thirteen-point-six percent of all residents are living below the federal poverty level. Second is Maine at 12.8 percent.

URI Prof: Signs Show an Improving RI Economy

Sep 16, 2013

A University of Rhode Island economics professor who tracks the state’s economy every month finds it was in good shape for the month of July.

Professor Leonard Lardaro says nine of 12 indicators he tracks are in positive territory.  The only lagging indicators are government employment, the size of the labor force and new claims for unemployment.

Overall, Lardaro said we’re heading into the second half of the year in a fairly strong position.