Heartening News for Rhode Island Economy

Mar 13, 2013

Downtown Providence RI
Credit Catherine Welch / RIPR

Two new reports suggest Rhode Island’s economy is on the rebound. 

Rhode Island is one of 29 states recognized by the U.S. Commerce Department as having achieved record export growth in 2012.  According to a release from the governor’s office, the state recorded four percent growth from 2011 to 2012. Over a three year period the growth rate is 60 percent.  Exports now total $2.4 billion in value. It’s estimated that one job is created for every  $200,000 in exports.

And in a related development, University of Rhode Island economics professor Len Lardaro reports that Rhode Island’s economy has been growing for 35 months with especially strong growth in the second half of last year.  He says says his index of 12 indicators shows the state is firmly in recovery and it’s safe to conclude  that Rhode Island’s economy has shifted into high gear.

Each month Lardaro rates the state’s economy on a dozen factors including the unemployment rate, consumer confidence and manufacturing hours worked.  Lately he’s been liking what he sees.   Growth in the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2012 was especially strong. "We shifted into a higher gear. We seem to have sustained it going into January of this year. And so our momentum has clearly built. We’re growing faster than we have in a while.  The only downside is that we went so far down during the great recession that more rapid growth rates when you’re that far down don’t translate into the levels of things that we really need them to be."

Lardaro says even though the unemployment rate is going down there are still six percent fewer jobs than there were in 2006.

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