- Associated Press - Saturday, December 20, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - From a new future tenant in the former 38 Studios building to a drop in the unemployment rate, here are a few things to know in Rhode Island this week.


Bristol-based Roger Williams University is nearly doubling its footprint in Providence with a move to the building that once housed ex-Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios. The university, which currently has offices on Washington Street, has agreed to a 12-year, nearly $23 million lease for 77,000 square feet at One Empire Plaza. The space will be used by the law school, the School of Continuing Studies, the Latino Policy Institute and HousingWorks RI and will nearly double Roger Williams’ city footprint. It’s expected to open in spring 2016 after an $11 million renovation by building owner Berkeley Investments.


Five companies that Gov. Lincoln Chafee met with while in Europe earlier this year plan to launch local operations, which state leaders hailed as good news for the battered economy. They include three Italian firms: the global supply chain specialist Euranet; the restaurant franchise Galivm, which will open its first North American restaurant in Rhode Island; and the design consulting firm Reios, which will establish a manufacturing facility. The others are the Irish furniture maker Monaghan Brothers, which plans to set up a showroom and marketing office, and the English encryption technology company Score. At an event announcing the plans, Gov.-elect Gina Raimondo told company officials, “If you’re successful, Rhode Islanders are employed and Rhode Island is successful.”


Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is contesting a citation from federal regulators for an accident that seriously injured eight performers in a hair-hanging stunt. Despite the appeal, a spokesman for circus parent company Feld Entertainment said the circus isn’t planning to reprise the act and is implementing safety measures recommended by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA last month concluded circus staff had overloaded a carabiner clip that held up a chandelier-like apparatus from which the women were suspended by their hair. Regulators cited the circus for a serious safety violation and proposed the maximum fine of $7,000.


The state unemployment rate fell to 7.1 percent - down three-tenths of 1 percentage point - and the state added 2,800 jobs in November, according to a new report from the state Department of Labor and Training. The number of unemployed residents was down 1,600 from October, the 16th straight month the figure has fallen. Less good news was a contraction of the labor force, which shrunk by 2,000. The national unemployment rate is 5.8 percent.

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