URI Professor and economist Leonard Lardaro is the creator of the Current Conditions Index, a tool used to measure Rhode Island’s current economic climate. In December, Lardaro expressed optimism about the state’s economy, but he was awaiting revised labor market data for a more complete picture. However, recent data has painted a somewhat disappointing picture with a December CCI of 58. Key indicators showing improvement include government employment, private services employment, total hours of production, manufacturing wages and labor force participation. However, Lardaro is concerned about the lackluster improvement in retail sales, which rose just 0.02 percent, and the looming end of federal stimulus money, which he expects will make it harder to balance the state budget and potentially lead to an economic slowdown.
Lardaro is available for broadcast and print interviews and will blog about new performance data over the coming weeks. Additional information and historical data are available online at http://www.llardaro.com/current.htm. For more information or to schedule an interview with Lardaro, individuals may contact him at his office at 401-874-4128 or at home at 401-783-9563. Dawn Bergantino of the URI Communications and Marketing Department can also be reached at 401-874-4147 for media inquiries.