PROVIDENCE - Rhode Island’s economy grew by 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 after growing 1.9 percent during the third quarter, according to the Current Economic Indicator report, released Thursday by the R.I. Public Expenditure Council and Bryant University.
Despite the near stagnant growth reported during the fourth quarter, the report’s leading indicator, which projects the state’s next quarter of growth, estimates that the state’s economic recovery will increase at an annualized rate of 1.1 percent during the first quarter of 2013.
Overall, Bryant’s Center for Global and Regional Economic Studies and RIPEC estimate that the Rhode Island economy expanded by 1 percent in 2012, an improvement over recent years but “still well below the level needed to sustain robust job creation in the state,” said the report.
“Although the drag created by a lackluster fourth quarter dampened economic growth for the year, national estimates indicate that the contraction may be temporary and the pace of economic growth is expected to rebound at both the national and state levels,” said the report, adding that mixed economic signals indicate that the Ocean State’s economic growth will continue to be slower than both the regional and national averages.
National economic activity heavily impacted Rhode Island during the year, and “Rhode Island continues to be unable to generate sufficient internal momentum to break from this pattern,” said a RIPEC release announcing the report.
“While the state will benefit from any national economic gains, Rhode Island must work to gain greater control of its fiscal future, including ensuring that it improves its competitive position vis-à-vis other states,” John Simmons, executive director of RIPEC, said in prepared remarks.
Rhode Island’s slow growth during the quarter was attributed to a majority of internal factors, including a decline in general sales and gross receipts, an increase in seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims and decreases in the construction, leisure and hospitality and trade, transportation and utilities services sector.
On the positive side, both employment in the professional and businesses services sectors, and real wages and salary disbursements increased during the fourth quarter of 2012.