URI economist: Despite some improvement, Rhode Island economy continues to stagnate

Media Contact: Dawn Bergantino, 401-874-4147 |

WHAT: Rhode Island’s overall Current Conditions Index (CCI) value remained at 25 for the fourth consecutive month, leaving it plateaued for the month of September and below a CCI neutral value of 50 for more than six months which, according to URI economist Leonard Lardaro, traditionally signals recession. Lardaro notes that although traditional signals were not needed to forecast the “forced recession” Rhode Island has found itself in since March, several key indicators have shown improvement on a month-to-month basis. While Lardaro’s CCI is predicated on year-over-year changes, the relative improvement of indicators such as Labor Force participation, Employment Service Jobs and Total Manufacturing Hours have helped to move the monthly CCI into expansion territory for the first time since the pandemic began. If these month-to-month expansion values of 50 or higher are sustained, the state may find itself on the way to a long, slow recovery. However, indicators such as New Claims for Unemployment Insurance and Benefits Exhaustion, the best measure of longer-term unemployment, have continued to worsen.

WHO: URI Professor of Economics Leonard Lardaro, creator and author of the Current Conditions Index.

WHEN: November 9, 2020

HOW: Use attached information, including summary and charts prepared by Lardaro for news reports. He is available for broadcast and print interviews. Lardaro will be blogging about the new labor data during the coming weeks. Additional information and historical data available online: http://www.llardaro.com/current.htm.

FOR INFORMATION: Leonard Lardaro, office, 401-874-4128, home, 401-783-9563.

Dawn Bergantino, URI Department of Communications and Marketing, 401-874-4147.

BACKGROUND: The Current Conditions Index, created by Lardaro, measures the strength of the present economic climate in Rhode Island by following the behavior of 12 indicators.