There's a commonly held misconception in Rhode Island that the jewelry industry is washed up, kaput, a victim of the ravaged manufacturing sector. But according to the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, we have the highest concentration of jobs in the jewelry industry in the United States. This morning as we continue our 'Made in Rhode Island' series, Rhode Island Public Radio's Flo Jonic delves into the jewelry industry through the eyes of three of its players:
Rhode Island’s unemployment rate remained flat in June at 8.9 percent. Progress made in reducing the jobless rate in the first quarter of the year seems to have stalled.
The news was great in the first quarter of the year. Rhode Island’s unemployment rate fell from 9.8 percent in January to 9.4 percent in February, to 9.1 percent in March. In April, it fell to 8.8 percent. That’s about where it has remained ever since.
Rhode Island’s unemployment rate took a healthy drop in April. But the state is still a long way from restoring all the jobs lost to the recession.
Rhode Island’s April unemployment rate was 8.8 percent. That’s three tenths of one percent lower than in March and the lowest rate in four-and-a-half years. Charles Fogarty, director of the state Department of Labor and Training, attributes the decline to increased consumer confidence.
It’s hard to turn on the news these days without hearing about another nonprofit in financial trouble. Advent House – the state’s first homeless shelter – is without a director because it can’t afford one. John Hope Settlement House is bleeding $30,000 a month. And the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence has laid off a third of its staff.
As Rhode Island tries to overcome high unemployment, some observers argue that more urgent steps are needed to spark the economy. One of the groups making that argument is a free-market think tank, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity. The center’s CEO, Mike Stenhouse, stopped by our studio to talk about a proposal to eliminate the sales tax and other issues.
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The Boston Globe reported Monday that the Canadian government has established a business accelerator program in Cambridge to help its ``most promising young start-ups tap into the expertise and energy of the growing innovation economy around MIT and, ideally return home with new customers, connections and ideas.’’
As anyone with a pulse is aware, the area around Kendall Square in Cambridge has evolved over the past two decades from a seen-better-days warehouse and manufacturing district into an innovation lodestone.
The fight for fiscal stability in Woonsocket and mixed news on Rhode Island's economy. That’s part of the discussion this week on Political Roundtable with guest Woonsocket City Council President John Ward.
Saul Kaplan, head of the Business Innovation Factory, says Rhode Island has the necessary assets for a thriving economy. Part of the challenge, he says, is transforming the state's small size from an obstacle into a benefit.