Rhode Island economy looking up, caution still advised, says URI economist

WHAT: Rhode Island’s economy held relatively steady in December, says University of Rhode Island economist Leonard Lardaro, as he eagerly awaits revised labor market data that will provide a fuller picture of the state’s economic progress. The creator of the Current Conditions Index says 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–several of which 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.

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

WHEN: Feb. 12, 2024

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.