Rhode Island State House

The Rhode Island economy rebounded in July, after a dismal performance the previous month, according to University of Rhode Island Economic Professor Leonard Lardaro’s Current Conditions Index.

For July, Lardaro’s CCI index was 58, up from 42 the previous month. If the CCI is below 50 it means that the economy is contracting. Above 50 means it’s expanding. Last July the index was also 58.

Lardaro’s more hopeful index follows last week’s release by the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council and Bryant University that downgraded some if its previous optimistic projections, and projected a shrinking economy.

“While the brief (we hope) interlude of weakening may now be behind us, what was disturbing about Rhode Island’s Quarter 2 performance was that it was yet another demonstration of how when the U.S. economy hiccups, Rhode Island’s economy stumbles,” Lardaro said.

“We still have a long way to go before we meaningfully reinvent ourselves in ways that make our state’s economy less vulnerable to national weakness,” he said. “That, however, should come as no surprise since our elected officials did absolutely nothing until the last year or so to help in these areas.”

Lardaro noted in July government employment rose by 0.5 percent, the first increase since August 2015 and new claims dropped 18.5 percent, after three consecutive increases.

The overall 58 rating was the best this year since February, when the CCI was 67. The next month it plummeted to 50, and failed to rise above that until July.

Frank Prosnitz

Frank Prosnitz brings to WhatsUpNewp several years in journalism, including 10 as editor of the Providence (RI) Business News and 14 years as a reporter and bureau manager at the Providence (RI) Journal. Prosnitz began his journalism career as a sportswriter at the Asbury Park (NJ) Press, moving to The News Tribune (Woodbridge, NJ), before joining the Providence Journal. Prosnitz hosts the Morning Show on WLBQ radio (Westerly), 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, and It’s Your Business, also on WBLQ, Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Prosnitz has twice won Best in Business Awards from the national Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), twice was named Media Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Administration, won an investigative reporter’s award from the New England Press Association, and newswriting award from the Rhode Island Press Association.