Leonard Lardaro is a professor of economics at the University of Rhode Island and the creator of the Current Conditions Index. The index measures 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, but he is waiting for revised labor market data to provide a fuller picture of the state’s economic progress.
Lardaro expressed concern about the weak improvement in Retail Sales, which was up only .02 percent, and the looming end of federal stimulus money. He expects this to make it more difficult to balance the state budget and potentially lead to an economic slowdown. However, he also noted that some key indicators showed improvement including Government Employment, Private Service-Producing Employment, Total Manufacturing Hours, Manufacturing Wage and Labor Force participation. These improvements may be impacted by revised federal data.
The Current Conditions Index remains in an expansion value, indicating that Rhode Island’s economy is expanding. 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 can be found online at http://www.llardaro.com/current.htm. For more information or to schedule an interview with Lardaro or Dawn Bergantino from the URI Department of Communications and Marketing can be contacted at 401-874-4147 or 401-874-4128 respectively.