URI economist: Rhode Island economy shows continued signs of recovery from pandemic

WHAT: Rhode Island’s overall Current Conditions Index (CCI) rose to a value of 92 in May – up from its April value of 75 – a vast improvement over where the state has been as numerous values continue to improve, says University of Rhode Island economist Leonard Lardaro. With 11 of 12 CCI indicators improving relative to their position in May 2020, the state continues its journey toward economic restoration helped along by monetary policy as well as fiscal stimulus. Lardaro cautioned that despite recent economic improvement the state would likely not be returning to “normal” as it existed prior to the pandemic, but a “new normal” impacted by the loss of many small businesses, structural changes in the way firms produce goods and services – such as increased automation – among other factors.   

According to Lardaro, many of May’s statistics were stunning. He called particular attention to job gains, noting that the state restored 55,700 jobs in May, relative to a loss of 1,700 jobs a year ago. Total Manufacturing Hours, Employment Services Jobs, Single Use Permits and New Claims for Unemployment all showed significant improvement over this time last year. Lardaro did, however, warn about the possibility of an uneven recovery in which momentum improves and then moderates, an increasing likelihood should Rhode Island’s elected officials fail to improve the state’s business climate.

WHO: URI Professor of Economics Leonard Lardaro, creator and author of the Current Conditions Index.

WHEN: July 14, 2021. (no embargo)

HOW: Use attached information, including summary and charts prepared by Lardaro for news reports. He is available for broadcast and print interviews. Lardaro will be blogging about the new labor data during the coming weeks. Additional information and historical data available online: http://www.llardaro.com/current.htm.

FOR INFORMATION: Leonard Lardaro, office, 401-874-4128, home, 401-783-9563.

Dawn Bergantino, URI Department of Communications and Marketing, 401-874-4147.

BACKGROUND: The Current Conditions Index, created by Lardaro, measures the strength of the present economic climate in Rhode Island by following the behavior of 12 indicators.