RI economic summit: unemployment numbers still high - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

RI economic summit: unemployment numbers still high

Andrea Medeiros


PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The latest national jobs numbers are out, and they are disappointing. The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent

In Rhode Island, unemployment numbers are much higher than the national average at 10.8 percent. Now, hundreds of local business leaders got together, Friday, to change that.

Five Rhode Island cities and towns have been threatened by bankruptcy. Our unemployment rate is nearly three points higher than the national average.

"We've got a 10.8 percent unemployment, 60 thousand unemployed. We need a spark. We need action," said Neil Steinberg of the Rhode Island Foundation, who put on the summit at the Rhode Island Convention Center.

The point is for successful business leaders to share their ideas on how to get people working and businesses hiring.

"One of the biggest structural problems in this state is that many of the residents in Rhode Island were trained in industries that don't exist anymore," said local business owner Charlie Knoll.

That was one of the software business owner's ideas at the summit called "Make it Happen Rhode Island," which the Rhode Island foundation spent 60–thousand dollars on, hoping it'll make a difference.

"We have to get out there and turn all of these ideas and rhetoric. Many of us have been on panels and forums and we've had reports, the difference is we need to turn those into action now," said Steinberg.

However, he couldn't answer how just yet. The Rhode Island foundation will look through the ideas over the next month and will choose which of them can be put to work in the next year.


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