Published 08/09/11

RI CEI for Q2 '11

SMITHFIELD, R.I.  (Aug. 9, 2011) - Despite a significant slowdown in the U.S. economy in the first two quarters of 2011, Rhode Island sustained its economic recovery and expanded faster than the national economy. Moreover, the Rhode Island Leading Economic Indicator projects the economy will expand 2.2 percent (annualized rate) over the next two quarters.

These are some of the findings of the Rhode Island Current Economic Indicator (CEI) for the second quarter of 2011, released in a briefing today (Aug. 9) by Bryant University and the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council (RIPEC).

Bryant economists' research shows Rhode Island sustaining its economic recovery in second quarter.

Rhode Island's economic growth in the second quarter was fueled by regional growth as well as internal dynamics, including:

  • increased consumption. General sales and gross receipt taxes increased 3.4 percent (seasonally adjusted) compared to the first quarter;
  • modest improvements in labor market conditions. Initial unemployment claims decreased just over 8 percent in the first quarter, and another 7.5 percent in the second;
  • employment in trade, transportation and utilities services increased 8.4 percent, and hospitality services reversed its first-quarter losses.

Despite these positive signs, the downside is that the current rate of growth is not large enough to boost job creation and significantly cut the state's unemployment, said John Simmons, executive director of RIPEC. "If the U.S. economy fails to pick up steam soon, the already slow economic recovery here will be derailed."

The quarterly CEI, developed by economists at Bryant University combines several key gauges of economic activity in a single statistic that measures the overall current economic conditions in Rhode Island. It is calibrated to grow at the rate of the Real Gross State Product and therefore can be interpreted as the underlying growth rate of the state economy. The CEI is calculated using the most current available data for the state.

For additional information about the RI CEI or the newsletter, contact Simmons at RIPEC, 401-521-6320.