SMITHFIELD – Rhode Island’s economy has struggled to gain traction in the wake of the Great Recession and may be vulnerable to a slew of external factors, according to a joint report from Bryant University and the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council.
The state’s economy grew by 1.7 percent in the second quarter of 2013, down from1.9 percent in the first quarter. The report projects 1.6 percent growth in the third quarter.
Noting that Rhode Island’s unemployment rate of 8.9 percent is the third highest in the country, and that economic growth in the Ocean State since the 2008 financial crisis has been inconsistent, the report categorizes Rhode Island’s economic recovery as modest.
And factors such as the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, a loss of in-state spending to forthcoming casinos in Massachusetts, and continued cuts in federal funding could all negatively impact the state’s tepid recovery, the report said.
The state has also seen a shrinking labor force and a decline in jobs in 2013, even as the unemployment rate has grown smaller.
“Since these internal and external economic headwinds have the potential to slow Rhode Island’s recovery even further over the next few years, they should be strategically accounted for in economic planning moving forward,” said John Simmons, executive director of the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, in a statement.
The findings of the report are based on the state’s Current Economic Indicator, a metric based on an array of economic indicators meant to gauge the overall performance of the state’s economic activity. Read the full report here.