URI economist: State's 'tepid' recovery slowing
PROVIDENCE, R.I.—A Rhode Island economist said Monday that the state's "tepid" recovery is continuing but there are signs it's slowing down.
University of Rhode Island Professor Leonard Lardaro said in his "Current Conditions Index" report for May that signs of a loss of momentum in the still-troubled economy are mounting.
Lardaro noted that the recession is actually long gone; Rhode Island is in its 27th consecutive month of recovery. But he said it's more likely that the rate of improvement will continue to slow rather than "magically get better."
"We're slipping back toward stall speed, but we're not there yet," he said in an interview, noting that the June report could show as much. "We'll still be in a recovery, but it's not going to have a lot of muscle. The same thing is true nationally."
The state reported an unemployment rate of 11 percent in May, the second highest in the country and the highest by far in New England. Lardaro's analysis suggests the jobless rate is actually slightly lower, at 10.7 percent.
Asked Monday about Lardaro's assessment, Gov. Lincoln Chafee said he thinks the economy will continue to improve -- albeit incrementally.
"I think we're due to catch up with Connecticut and Massachusetts," he said. "I just don't see why we should be lagging as far behind as we are."