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Scharfenberg’s smart talk about Rhode Island’s economy

March 10, 2012

Rhode Island’s economy keeps scuffling along like a hobo by the railroad tracks, as signs of improvement are flaring in much of the country. Check out this eye-popping stat: fewer than 60 percent of the state’s adults were working during the latter part of 2011. A lot of people probably wonder: where’s the urgency on the part of Rhode Island’s leaders in fighting for the state’s future?

With that in mind, I recommend that you spend the time this weekend to read David Scharfenberg’s current Providence Phoenix cover story on the potential and pratfalls of Rhode Island’s manufacturing sector.

Rhode Island’s manufacturing sector is stabilizing. There are new jobs on the factory floor and they’re good ones; as of 2010, manufacturing paid an average annual wage of $49,217, almost $7000 better than the state’s average private-sector wage.

And while no one is predicting a return to the glory days, there is hope — in some quarters — that the state’s rusted industrial core will come to life again; that it will play a central role in pulling the state out of its deep and cruel rut.

It’s an astute, even-handed and on-point account that uses personal anecdotes and big-picture politics to offer a comprehensive overview.

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