Making ends meet is about to get harder for thousands of Rhode Island families who will lose their unemployment benefits Saturday. Those taking the hit are the long-term unemployed.
Congressional failure to renew the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program will result in the loss of benefits to 1.3 million Americans starting tomorrow. In Rhode Island, six thousand long-term unemployed individuals will lose their weekly checks. In the first six months of 2014 another nine thousand will join their ranks.
Rhode Island’s jobless rate edged up slightly in July, from 8.8 percent to 8.9 percent. It’s a source of frustration for state Labor Department officials who concede that at the current rate it will take several years for Rhode Island to get anywhere close to full employment.
Led by a sharp drop in the number of temporary jobs, Rhode Island’s jobless rate posted a one-tenth of one percent increase in July. Still, the 8.9 percent rate is 1.6 percent lower than a year ago.
Some news for Rhode Island’s beleaguered economy: First quarter tax data shows that job growth in the Ocean State was better than estimated, with the state economy generating 1,700 more jobs that first indicted in the March, 2013 report from the state Dep0artment of Labor and Training.
The DLT says that the new data is based on employment information from the state’s 32,000 private sector employers. The new estimates suggest an over the year gain of 2,300 Rhode Island-based jobs.