Rhode Island now has the highest unemployment rate in the nation, the first time the state has held that distinction in the three decades since such records have been kept.
With unemployment at 8.8 percent, Rhode Island has edged past Michigan, and every month seems to bring fresh reports of companies cutting workers, shutting divisions, closing altogether.
“I hate to say it but a distinct improvement for Rhode Island right now would be to have our economy be dead in the water,” said Leonard Lardaro, an economics professor at the University of Rhode Island, who compiles an index of Rhode Island’s economic health.
“Statistically this is the worst year. Clearly we’re going down faster than other states.”