PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) â¿¿ A University of Rhode Island economist says the state began the third quarter on a positive note but he fears a slowdown in growth for the rest of the year. Professor Leonard Lardaro says he revised upward his "Current Conditions Index" for July, but that the index level dropped in August. He tracks 12 economic indicators on a monthly basis. Only eight of the indicators improved in August compared to a year ago. The state Department of Labor and Training had planned to release the unemployment rate for September on Thursday but expects it will be delayed because of the partial government shutdown. Rhode Island's jobless rate in August was 9.1 percent, the third highest in the U.S.