There are some glimmers of positive economic news as Rhode Island races toward the New Year. So thanks for stopping for my weekly column. Feel free to share your tips and thoughts at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org and to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.
Governor-elect Gina Raimondo has picked Connecticut Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, a fellow Yale alum with experience leading economic-development efforts in New York and New Jersey, as her choice to be Rhode Island's first Commerce secretary.
"Stefan Pryor has the depth of experience and the drive to help me lead Rhode Island's comeback," Raimondo said in a statement. "Stefan's economic development successes in Newark and in Lower Manhattan are a testament to his ability to lead the Department of Commerce in Rhode Island."
The pre-holiday slowdown is descending on the land, but there's still plenty of interesting stuff going on, naturally. So thanks for stopping by and feel free to send me a note at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org and to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.
Rhode Island’s unemployment rate edged down slightly in October to 7.4 percent. It’s a number that has consistently dropped over the last 15 months.
October’s jobless rate is the lowest it’s been since April of 2008. But still the state lost 2600 jobs. The Department of Labor and Training finds Rhode Island’s 7.4 percent unemployment rate higher than the national rate of 5-point-8 percent but lower than the 9.4 percent jobless rate a year ago.
House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello emerged in March with a strong hold on what is commonly called the state's most powerful political office. Following the unveiling of a probe of former speaker Gordon Fox, Mattiello won a brief succession fight and pledged a stronger focus on jobs and the economy. Mattiello sat down last week to discuss his first few months as speaker and some of the top issues facing the state, including his choice for governor and Buddy Cianci's latest comeback attempt.
Rhode Island retailer Alex and Ani has announced a new management team and a major expansion.
The jewelry maker says it expects to add 250 jobs over the next six months. Those jobs would be spread across the corporate and retail levels.
Alex and Ani also announced the addition of several new executives to its management team. Jayne Fitzpatrick-Conway has been named Chief Financial Officer. And the company added several new leadership positions, including heads of ecommerce, information technology, and marketing.
Providence tech startup Swipely, which has grown significantly since it was launched in 2009, says a new infusion of $20 million in venture capital funding will enable it to continue expanding a small spark of Silicon Valley in Rhode Island.
"The intent is to use those funds to continue to aggressively growing the team in all our areas, including our engineering team, our marketing and sales team, and other departments within the company," Swipely founder Angus Davis said during a news conference Thursday morning.