Friday, May 22, 2009

Sinking Ships – MA vs. RI Unemployment April 2009

Subtitle: RI Blasts Through 11%!

As I had noted in my original post, historically it has been very unusual for there to be more than a 1.5% difference (either more or less) between the unemployment rates if Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Recently though, we have seen a historically unusual spread between Rhode Island’s high and accelerating rate and Massachusetts’ far lower but now quickly rising rate.

In fact, after a short period of flattening and decline in recent months the latest 3.1% spread resumed the prior trend, blasting through the peak set in 2008 and exceeding all but one spread seen in at least 40 years.

This indicates that either Rhode Island’s current rate would need to fall dramatically or the Massachusetts rate would need to increase sharply…. My sense, especially in light of the financial turmoil seen since September, is that Mass will be the one playing catch-up.

Today’s regional unemployment report showed that, in April, the Rhode Island unemployment rate surged to 11.1% while the Massachusetts rate jumped to 8.0% from a revised7.7% in March.

In April, Massachusetts experienced one of the largest year-over-year increase in unemployment since the recessionary environment that followed the tech-led dot-com bust jumping 66.67% on a year-over-year basis clearly indicating that Mass has now entered a period of truly explosive unemployment growth.

As summer nears look for the unemployment rate to experience a notable acceleration as the second typical seasonal period for mass layoffs culminates mid-July.