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By Kimberley Donoghue
PBN Web Editor
SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Leonard Lardaro, a University of Rhode Island economist, sees a 50 percent chance of Rhode Island slipping into a double-dip recession in this fiscal year.
The URI economist made the prediction in the June issue of his Current Conditions Index, which tracks the state’s economic performance through a dozen national and local economic indicators.
The index had a value of 58 in June and revised the May value – based on an adjustment to retail sales data - downward to 50 from 58. A reading below 50 indicates economic contraction, while above it signifies expansion.
“While I continue to believe that the U.S. economy will not experience a double-dip recession, the weakening pace of national economic activity has caused me to revise my prediction for Rhode Island,” said Lardaro noting that previously he had pegged the probabilities for the Ocean State double-dip at one in three.
In June, seven of the twelve indicators improved relative to their values a year ago: retail sales, private service-production employment, total manufacturing hours, manufacturing wage, benefit exhaustions, new claims, and the unemployment rate.
The factors that weighed negatively on the index were: government employment, U.S. consumer sentiment, single-unit permits, employment services jobs, and the labor force.
The CCI values have fallen from 67 – as seen in both January and February – to 58 in March and April, to the revised May value (50) and the most recent value, a 58 in June.