SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Rhode Island’s economic recovery continues but is doing so at a slower pace, according to University of Rhode Island economist Leonard Lardaro’s Current Conditions Index.
“It is clear that some of the momentum we witnessed as 2011 ended and we moved into 2012 has begun to fade,” said Lardaro. “This would be a very good time for [state leaders] to finally begin implementing needed changes.”
The CCI tracks Rhode Island’s economic performance over a dozen metrics supplied by the state Department of Labor and Training. A number greater than 50 signifies progress while a value less than 50 signals set backs.
The May index registered at 58, up from 50 in April. It was 50 in May 2011.
Lardaro has said fluctuations in some reported employment metrics would likely put May’s CCI at 67, down from a likely April CCI of 75 when revised numbers become available.
“I keep hearing many of our state’s leaders say things like ‘When things turn around.’ Things have already turned around – this is it,” Lardaro said. “They need to acknowledge the sad reality that we’re more likely to continue slowing from here, not magically get better.”
Seven CCI metrics showed improvement in May, including a 15.5 percent increase in single-unit permits and a 9.9 percent increase in retail sales.
However, new unemployment claims rose 8.6 percent, the labor force fell 1.2 percent, and employment service jobs declined 7.3 percent.
Lardaro’s numbers also indicate that Rhode Island’s unemployment rate remained at 10.7 percent in May and that total manufacturing hours improved by 2.3 percent.