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Lardaro: R.I. economic growth moderating

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SOUTH KINGSTOWN – While Rhode Island’s economic recovery continued in July, its rate of growth is moderating, according to University of Rhode Island economist Leonard Lardaro.

The economist released his Current Conditions Index on Monday, revealing an improvement when comparing July to a month earlier but a value that is still bellow its level one year earlier.

The CCI value increased to 67 in July, up from 58 in June but 13 points lower than a year earlier.

The index tracks the state’s economic performance through a dozen national and local economic indicators. A reading below 50 indicates economic contraction, while above it signifies expansion.

Contributing positively to the index were: single-unit permits, retail sales, private service-production employment, total manufacturing hours, manufacturing wage, benefit exhaustions, new claims and the unemployment rate.

“The spectacular and – to me, at least – unexpected ongoing strength in our state’s manufacturing sector continued in July,” Lardaro said, highlighting improvement in employment, hours and manufacturing wage.

“Clearly, sustaining our state’s recent manufacturing momentum will require continued dollar weakness, which, given federal government dysfunction, is likely to continue.”

The four factors which did not improve were: government employment, U.S. consumer sentiment, employment services jobs and the labor force.

“Sadly, since Rhode Island never used the past crisis to reinvent itself [so] a re-acceleration of growth here is almost entirely dependent on heightened national and global growth,” he said.

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