The Rhody rankings game

Eadweard Muybridge  photo sequence.

Eadweard Muybridge photo sequence.

From Robert Whitcomb’s “Digital Diary,’’ in

God knows, Rhode Island should and can do various things (which I have suggested here over the years) to improve its economy, but I’m always leery of rankings, such as the right-leaning CNBC and the far-right Wall Street Journal editorial page, ranking the tiny state the worst in the nation for business. Some of that was based on lagging data and in changes in how some data were weighted. I don’t trust U.S. News and World Report rankings for similar reasons. That Rhode Island is so minuscule makes comparing it with other states particularly problematic.

All such rankings are based, in varying degrees, on comparing apples and oranges. And they usually ignore such important but difficult to quantify things as convenience and location. A major reason that my wife and I continue to live in Rhode Island is how close most of what you need for daily life is within the state and its nearness to Boston and New York. None of this is to say that the Ocean State must not do much, much better.

A little referenced number: Rhode Island’s per-capita income was 17th in the nation last year. Not too bad for an old mill-town state, but it’s next to #1 Massachusetts and #2 Connecticut….