Flo Jonic / RIPR

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:

file / RIPR

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.

RI Unemployment Rate Drops to 8.8 Percent

May 16, 2013

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.

Rhode Island Nonprofits Feel the Squeeze

Apr 16, 2013
Flo Jonic/RIPR

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.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.

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.

Rhode Island State House
Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The leadership of the state Senate Tuesday unveiled a legislative package of 25 bills meant to improve Rhode Island’s economy.

Heartening News for Rhode Island Economy

Mar 13, 2013
Downtown Providence RI
Catherine Welch / RIPR

Two new reports suggest Rhode Island’s economy is on the rebound. 

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.

It’s up to business leaders and other people in Rhode Island, not just lawmakers, to help save the state’s economy.

That’s what economic expert Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution told a lunch gathering of more than 200 people in Providence Tuesday.

RIPR file / RIPR

Gov. Lincoln Chafee says the findings in a new report are part of the process of improving Rhode Island’s economy.

The report centers on the state’s business climate and found Rhode Island has made some progress in cutting taxes but they’re still perceived as being a potential roadblock to attracting new business. It also found gaps in funding for start ups.

Chafee says the process is part of what he calls a methodical approach his administration is using to target a better economy.

URI index shows RI economy getting its mojo back

Feb 13, 2013

A University of Rhode Island economist is out with his monthly index of economic indicators. And it shows the state has economic momentum unmatched since 2003.

Professor Leonard Lardaro’s “Current Conditions Index” hit 92 in December, the highest mark in eight years.  All but one of 12 economic indicators showed growth; the lone exception being government which is scaling back hiring as services are consolidated.

Another week passes with the usual talk from the Rhode Island political and business elite on economic development. RIPR political  analyst Scott MacKay says its time for some changes in the way Rhode Islanders view our state and ourselves.

(PROVIDENCE, RI) Ten Rhode Island colleges and universities are teaming up to help the state out of its economic doldrums.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee has announced the formation of the “Rhode Island Higher Education Research Collaborative.”  Its mission: to provide nonpartisan data that will help state leaders develop sustainable economic policies.