Leonard Lardaro, a professor of economics at the University of Rhode Island, is the creator and author of the Current Conditions Index. This index is used to measure the strength of the current economic climate in Rhode Island by tracking 12 key indicators. In December, Lardaro stated that while Rhode Island’s economy held relatively steady, he was waiting for revised labor market data to get a fuller picture of the state’s economic progress.
According to Lardaro, existing data paints a somewhat disappointing picture with a December CCI of 58. However, there were some key indicators that showed improvement, including Government Employment, Private Service-Producing Employment, Total Manufacturing Hours, Manufacturing Wage and Labor Force participation.
Lardaro’s concern lies in the weak improvement of Retail Sales, which was up only .02 percent. Additionally, he is concerned about the looming end of federal stimulus money and its potential impact on balancing the state budget and potentially leading to an economic slowdown.
Despite these concerns, Lardaro remains optimistic that Rhode Island’s economy will continue to improve with the help of revised labor market data. He 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