BOSTON – Even though Rhode Island has gained some economic strength in 2013, the Ocean State “still lags behind other states in New England when looking at major economic indicators such as growth of the gross state product and the unemployment rate,” according to the spring 2013 New England Economic Outlook report from the New England Economic Partnership.
Seven of the state’s 13 employment sectors experienced growth, including the struggling manufacturing sector, which added 400 new jobs.
Overall, the NEEP report said that the Rhode Island economy is “slowly regaining momentum,” something that’s indicated by the significant drop in unemployment from 10.6 percent in March 2012 to 9.1 percent in March 2013, a “robust increase” in taxes revenue and employment gains in what the report called “key industries.”
The report estimated that Rhode Island’s real gross state product, which measures the total economic output of the state, increased 1.8 percent in 2012. The state’s current economic indicator for the first quarter increased at an annual rate of 1.6 percent.
Comparing spring 2013 forecast with the fall 2012 forecast showed that the long-term forecast for both the unemployed rate and nonfarm employment improved, causing the unemployment rate to decrease much faster than expected in the fall of 2012. “The long-term outlook has, thus, improved,” said the report.
The state’s real gross state product is forecast to reach $44.9 billion in 2013, a 1.1 percent increase compared to the 2012 real GSP of $44.5 billion.
The report indicated that, by 2017, Rhode Island’s real GSP should be $49.7 billion, an annual growth rate of 2.2 percent between 2012 and 2017, compared with 0 percent growth between 2007 and 2012.
“This growth rate is, however, slower than the 3.2 percent growth rate for the New England area and the 3.3 percent for the United States,” said the report.