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Rhode Island Retail Jobs Adding to State Losses

Posted on December 18, 2008

Declining sales and consumer confidence could result in the loss of more Rhode Island retail jobs.

Rhode Island, among many other states, is feeling the pressure of the declining economy. During October the state had an unemployment rate of 9.3 percent, up from 8.8 percent during September and higher than the national unemployment rate of 6.5 percent. According to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state had a total non-farm employment of 476,000, down from 478,400 during September and a 3 percent decrease from last year.

According to an article by Reuters, many retail sales jobs are being lost. It’s sort of a Catch-22, as more people lose their jobs, more people can’t afford to shop, causing more retail workers to lose their jobs, and so on.

The National Conference of State Legislatures notes that states face a collective budget gap of at least $97 billion during the next 18 to 24 months. California, which is facing a plethora of housing problems, is responsible for a large portion of that number. The state’s government could run out of cash if a $15 billion budget shortfall isn’t closed.

“If we don’t put aside our ideological differences and negotiate and solve this problem we are heading toward a financial Armageddon,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in the article.

Arizona also is having significant problems, as 37,000 residents filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits during October. During that month the state lost 70,900 jobs, or 2.6 percent from last year, marking the eighth straight month of job losses. The state faces a $1.2 billion budget gap. Florida is facing a $2.3 billion budget shortfall, while Nevada expects more than a $1 billion budget shortfall, mainly due to declining revenue from automobile sales.

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