By PBN Staff
PROVIDENCE â€“ An index of Rhode Islandâ€™s leading economic indicators rose 1.2 percent in February.
The index, produced by e-forecasting.com and Providence Business News, rose to 120.3. A reading of 100 is equivalent to the stateâ€™s activity in 2000.
The February increase marked the fourth consecutive month of rises. The index rose 0.9 percent in January after more than doubling the indexâ€™s 0.4 percent increase registered in December 2011.
The economic indicator index uses nine statistics to forecast the direction of the stateâ€™s economy over the next three to six months. Positive numbers signal growth while negative numbers denote contraction.
Eight of the nine statistics had positive contributions to the index in February, including: unemployment claims, weekly hours in manufacturing, building permits, consumer expectations, state employment barometer, stock prices, interest rate spread and orders index.
Only the exports of manufactures statistic had a negative contribution.
The six-month growth rate â€“ â€śa signal of turning pointsâ€ť â€“ was 3.6 percent in February after holding a rate of 1.7 percent in January.
By comparison, the long-term annual growth rate for the index was 2.2 percent, the same as the annual growth rate of the stateâ€™s overall economic activity.