November 23, 2009

An Oversold Index

Justin Katz

Whatever its retrospective analytical utility, URI Economics Professor Len Lardaro's Current Conditions Index seems pretty useless as a gauge of future trends. The news reports that use it simply make no sense:

The Current Conditions Index dipped to 33 in September from 42 in August. ...

"While Rhode Island will not emerge from its recession until the first quarter of next year, the foundations for an eventual upturn are beginning to fall into place," he said.

What foundations? Lardaro's optimism derives from the index's improvement from last year, when it was alternating between 8 and 0, but the current year figure is relative to that period, so our economy is still shrinking. If last year was terrible, we're now doing worse than terrible.

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I've always found the guru of URI's economics program (??) Len Lardaro and his analysis to be pretty lame and quite irrelevant. What's appalling is how the lazy media runs to him whenever he sneezes as if he has some great knowledge to impart.
Len is just another state worker and should be viewed as such.

Posted by: Tim at November 23, 2009 7:31 AM

So now instead of trying to swim while tied to a Volkswagen, we're trying to swim while tied to a bowling balls. Still sinking. Yeah, I guess that's a good thing.

Well, if the ProJo keeps putting out bad news, more people may move out of the state and that's even fewer people than the 13 or 14 who still have subscriptions.

Posted by: Patrick at November 23, 2009 8:26 AM

I finally cancelled my Projo subscription last year. After the unions I place the Projo front and center for responsibility for RI’s economic woes. Through the decades they sat idly by, employing too many liberal journalists, and did not take a leading role in explaining what was happening in RI. They did not try nearly hard enough to educate the average voter. Instead the Projo gave the unions and the poverty pimps whatever publicity they wanted and always gave them the last word anytime anyone went up against them. At the same time they were busy trying to demonize a Governor who had created none of this mess. The Projo can’t go down fast enough for me, they’ve earned it .

Posted by: Frank at November 23, 2009 9:22 AM

What else would you expect from an academic (i.e., "has never run his own business but loves to tell others in the RI economy what their problems are"...I was going to say "couldn't get a REAL job in the private sector" but we'll be nice since it's Thanksgiving week) pushing sixty who has been teaching others about things he's never done in the real world?
The term "economist" is thrown around with about as much truth as the term "Catholic" is in RI.

God bless us all.

Posted by: TommyFromProvidence at November 23, 2009 9:23 AM

Iceased reading the ProJo during the CIanci trial. the last straw was when the "journalist" reported being amazed that the towing operators were paying off the mayor to keep their ridiculously profitable towing contracts. I thought it was time to dump the "journalists" and employ "reporters" that hung out in the right bars and knew about towing contracts.

P.S. I notice that towing operators still get paid about 3 times what AAA pays. Why?

Posted by: Warrington Faust at November 23, 2009 9:33 AM
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