By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer
SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Economic conditions in August could signal a re-acceleration of Rhode Island’s economic recovery, with most measured factors showing improvement according to University of Rhode Island economist Leonard Lardaro’s August Current Conditions Index.
“The August results show some real strength,” Lardaro said. “Any discussion of the potential for reaching ‘stall speed’ should be put on the backburner at this point.”
Lardaro reported last month that July’s CCI showed the state continuing a loss of recovery momentum through a loss in growth rate.
But in August, his index reported, eight of 12 measured metrics showed improvement reaffirming Lardaro’s stance that Rhode Island continues its 30-month recovery and is not on the edge of a double-dip recession.
“The potential re-acceleration reflected in the August data may be showing that Rhode Island’s economy is gaining some momentum just as the U.S. economy is,” Lardaro said.
The CCI tracks Rhode Island’s economic performance over a dozen metrics. A number greater than 50 indicates progress while a value less than 50 signals setbacks.
Lardaro has been using two measurement numbers for several months to address conflicting data from the R.I. Department of Labor and Training that he says is flawed and paints a darker picture for the state than really exists.
For August, Lardaro issued a CCI of 75, up from 58 in June. An adjusted CCI that takes into account the DLT data was issued at 67, down from 50 in June.
In August, the metrics showing the greatest improvement were the issuance of single-use permits up 35.3 percent; a decrease in benefit exhaustions, which measures long-term unemployment, down 34.8 percent; the U.S. consumer sentiment, up 33.8 percent; a loss in new unemployment claims, down 28.2 percent; retail sales, up 9.2 percent; and the manufacturing wage, up 7.8 percent.
The metrics showing a downslide in August were employment service jobs, down 7 percent; government employment, down 2.3 percent; private, service production employment, down 0.8 percent; and a diminished labor force, down 1.5 percent.