By Associated Press - Tuesday, October 7, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Moody’s Investors Service has raised its outlook on Rhode Island bonds to stable from negative, saying the state has succeeded in improving its finances and gaining ground with a stronger economy.

The ratings agency said Monday that Rhode Island’s economy has generally underperformed the United States and other New England states for decades. But it pointed to positive trends, including a 1.3-percent growth in employment from January to August 2014, and a gain in population during 2013.

Moody’s also affirmed Rhode Island’s Aa2 rating on the state’s general obligation bonds, which total $2.2 billion.

It said the rating incorporates the state’s strong financial management practices and the economy, which has lagged the nation.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee said he is pleased that Moody’s is acknowledging Rhode Island’s fiscal management.

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