As the fourth quarter and 2013 came to an end, Rhode Island’s economic performance continued as it had for a while - we are moving forward, albeit at a not very encouraging speed. The news overall continued to be mixed: the good news was that the Current Conditions Index for December rose slightly to 75 from its November value of 67. And, within December’s performance, there were some positive results, mainly that almost all of the CCI’s leading economic indicators improved. That bodes well as we move into 2014. The bad news pertains to the continuation of a disturbing pattern: for a fifth consecutive month, and the sixth time in seven months, the CCI failed to exceed its year-earlier value. Hopefully, since the CCI values in early 2013 were not as strong as they had been in late 2012, we will soon find ourselves exceeding year-earlier values again in the first part of 2014. That is a very real possibility if the US economy continues to strengthen. We’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed. Once we begin to exceed prior-year values this will be the signal that the recovery is once again becoming more broadly based and that our momentum is accelerating. As I noted last month, the ultimate test of how robust Rhode Island’s recovery proves to be will be defined by our ability to accelerate from current and past rates of growth. We can only hope that our state’s continuing failure to meaningfully redefine itself for the information age (other than renaming the EDC) won’t pose too many obstacles.