Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for a weekly business segment we're calling "The Bottom Line." Each Friday they look at business news and themes that affect local business and the public.

This week Dave and Mark talk with Tim Hebert, President and CEO of IT services company Atrion, with headquarters  in Warwick. The discussion includes training the local workforce for careers in technology and the need to bring in better trained people from foreign nations to do the tech work.

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Rhode Island’s economy ended the second quarter on a positive note, according to the latest Current Conditions Index.  The index is a monthly rating of the state’s economy based on a dozen key indicators.


Starting next month, extended unemployment benefits will drop from 73 weeks to 63 weeks. The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training said the cut comes thanks to lower unemployment numbers.

States with an average unemployment rate of 9 percent or higher can offer what’s called Tier 4 of federal unemployment benefits that lasts for ten weeks. But because Rhode Island’s June unemployment rate of 8.9 percent brought the state’s average down below the threshold, it can no longer offer those ten weeks of extra benefits.

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.

Unemployment Rate Rises in Rhode Island

Jun 21, 2013

Like the national unemployment rate, Rhode Island’s jobless rate rose slightly in May. 

Rhode Island’s unemployment rate rose to 8.9 percent in May – up one tenth of a percentage point from the April rate.  It was the first month-over-month increase in the state’s un employment rate in almost two years.

The number of unemployed Rhode Islanders – those classified as available for and actively seeking work – was 49,600 – up 200 from the April figure.  Over the year, however, the number of unemployed has fallen by almost ten thousand.

Long Term Unemployment Persists in Rhode Island

Jun 20, 2013
Flo Jonic / RIPR

Imagine having nowhere to go in the morning. You’re constantly worried about money. Your self esteem is low and you’re forced to dip into savings to pay for life’s most fundamental needs. This is the lot of the unemployed in Rhode Island – the daily struggle of some 49,000 residents. And the desperation only increases with the passage of time.

New Home Construction Continues to Lag in RI

Jun 3, 2013

Rhode Island’s unemployment rate is edging downward but one sector of the economy remains in trouble.  New home construction has fallen off a cliff since the recession began and, there’s no sign of improvement on the horizon.

RI Youth Hit Hardest by Sluggish Economy

May 21, 2013

You think it’s tough finding a job in Rhode Island if you’re an adult, try being someone just starting out.  A new report shows the youth unemployment rate in Rhode Island is nearly twice the adult rate.

The unemployment rate in Rhode Island is 8.8 percent. But for people aged 16 to 24, it’s 17 percent. That, according to the youth advocacy group “Young Invincibles,” which based its conclusions on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mar 22, 2013

The state's unemployment is at a 4 year low. A hearing on a same-sex marriage bill brought out hundreds. These stories and more on the RIPR Morning News Podcast.

Plus the guest on this week's Political Roundtable is the CEO of the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, Mike Stenhouse.

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