Economist Warns of Potential Slowdown as Rhode Island’s Current Conditions Index Holds Steady Despite Improving Indicators

URI Economist Cautions Despite Positive Signs in Rhode Island Economy – Rhody Today

Leonard Lardaro, a Professor of Economics at the University of Rhode Island, is the creator and author of the Current Conditions Index. This index is used to measure the strength of the present economic climate in Rhode Island by following the behavior of 12 indicators. In December, Lardaro stated that Rhode Island’s economy held relatively steady. However, he is awaiting revised labor market data for a fuller picture of the state’s economic progress.

According to Lardaro, existing data paints a somewhat disappointing picture with a December CCI of 58. Key indicators showing improvement include Government Employment, Private Service-Producing Employment, Total Manufacturing Hours, Manufacturing Wage and Labor Force participation. Some of these indicators may be impacted by revised federal data. While the CCI remains in an expansion value, Lardaro’s concern lies in the weak improvement of Retail Sales, which was up only .02 percent, and the looming end of federal stimulus money, which he expects will make it more difficult to balance the state budget and potentially lead to an economic slowdown.

Lardaro is available for broadcast and print interviews and will be blogging about the new labor data during the coming weeks. Additional information and historical data is available online at . For more information or to schedule an interview with Lardaro, individuals can contact him at his office at 401-874-4128 or home at 401-783-9563. Dawn Bergantino from the URI Department of Communications and Marketing can also be contacted at 401-874-4147 for further information on this topic.

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