PROVIDENCE – With six of its seven local component parts contributing positively, the Rhode Island Current Economic Indicator increased to 3 percent in the second quarter, from a 2.2 percent reading in the first three months of the year.
The CEI, which is produced by the Rhode Island Expenditure Council in partnership with Bryant University’s Center for Global and Regional Economic Studies, shows that the Ocean State’s rate of growth actually passed the region in both the first and second quarters. Rhode Island’s 2.2 percent and 3 percent growth exceeded growth in New England of 1.5 percent and 2.3 percent (on an annualized basis), for the first six months of the year, respectively.
The second-quarter calculations indicate that the Rhode Island economy’s growth rate no longer lags that of the region or the nation. They also exceeded the expectations that had been set when the CEI for the first quarter was reported in May, at which time the leading indicator for the second quarter was 2.1 percent.
“The forecast indicates the Rhode Island economy has stabilized and is poised to trend similarly to the national economy,” said John C. Simmons, the executive director of RIPEC. He cautioned against being too positive, however, noting that “labor force declines from pre-recession levels must continue to be monitored.”
At the same time, the CEI projects an annualized growth rate of 2.5 percent in the third quarter for Rhode Island.
The two largest component improvements from April through June were construction employment, which showed a 22 percent annualized growth rate, and average weekly initial unemployment claims, which declined 9.1 percent on an annual basis. The single negative contribution was recorded by employment in the leisure and hospitality employment sector, which saw an annualized decline of 0.7 percent in the period.