Q3 2020 CEI Shows Partial Recovery, Constrained Economic Activity

PROVIDENCE, RI – While economic activity in Rhode Island grew in the third quarter of 2020 and the state recovered a significant number of jobs as compared to the second quarter of 2020, economic activity continues to be severely constrained. These projections were released today in the Rhode Island Current Economic Indicator Briefing, published jointly by the Center for Global and Regional Economic Studies at Bryant University and the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council.

“Rhode Island’s economy has begun to recover from the historic contraction we saw in the second quarter, but we are still in a much weaker position than before the pandemic, and should anticipate a long road to full recovery,” commented RIPEC President and CEO Michael DiBiase.

According to the Briefing, there was job growth across nearly every industry sector in Q3, but these gains did not make up for Q2 losses. Employment activity remained particularly constrained in leisure and hospitality; employment in this sector grew 53.3 percent in Q3 but only approximately one half of the jobs lost between March and April 2020 were regained. Similarly, employment in education and health services has not recovered, remaining 5.5 percent lower in Q3 than in Q1, and employment in professional and business services was 8.0 percent below Q1 levels. Total nonfarm employment in the Ocean State increased by 22,000 jobs between June and September but was 7.9 percent below the level in February.

Rhode Island’s gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to have expanded by 25.6 percent (annualized rate) in Q3, which is somewhat slower than that of the New England region (27.6 percent) and markedly slower than that of the U.S. (33.1 percent). For years, Rhode Island’s GDP growth has been consistently slower than that of the New England region and the nation.

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