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NEW: RI Economic Recovery Slowing

Monday, June 13, 2011


The state’s economic recovery is slowing, according to University of Rhode Island economist Leonard Lardaro.

Lardaro’s monthly measure of the state economy’s health puts it at a 58 on a scale of 0 to 100 for April. Above 50, it shows the economy is growing, but that number is unchanged from March.
“Rhode Island began the second quarter in much the same way it ended the first: continued slowing in its rate of economic growth,” Lardaro wrote in his report.

The report, known as the Current Conditions Index, evaluates the economy on the basis of a dozen factors. In April, the state economy improved in seven of those, including: retail sales, number of manufacturing hours worked, manufacturing wages, unemployment benefits, new unemployment claims, and the unemployment rate.

Where the economy is still struggling

Rhode Island did not do as well when it came to homebuilding permits, consumer confidence, or the size of the labor force.

“What we are actually witnessing here, and this was true last month as well, is that in the early stages of a recovery, even though the levels of indicators might not be all that strong on a
historical basis compared to what they had fallen to, they actually register significant rates of growth,” Lardaro said.

He added: “The challenge then, as the recovery continues, is to improve more and more from where we had fallen during the depths of the recession. Any plateauing in the overall level of economic activity, as we are now witnessing, results in index values that remain range bound for some time.”

There is one consolation, however, although some of the values may not be increasing—at least they’re not decreasing either.

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