Leading economic indicators index rises 1.1% in March

AN INDEX of Rhode Island’s leading economic indicators rose 1.1 percent in March. For a larger version of this graph, click HERE.
Posted 5/8/12

PROVIDENCE – An index of Rhode Island’s leading economic indicators rose 1.1 percent in March.

The index, produced by and Providence Business News, rose to 119.9. A reading of 100 is equivalent to the state’s activity in 2000.

The March increase marked the fifth consecutive month that it increased. The index rose 1.2 percent in February after a 0.9 percent climb in January.

The economic indicator index uses nine statistics to forecast the direction of the state’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 March, including: unemployment claims, weekly hours in manufacturing, exports of manufactures, consumer expectations, state employment barometer, stock prices, interest rate spread and orders index.

Only the building permits statistic had a negative contribution.

The six-month growth rate – “a signal of turning points” – was 5.5 percent in March after a six-month growth rate of 3.6 percent in February.

By comparison, the long-term annual growth rate for the index was 2.1 percent, the same as the annual growth rate of the state’s overall economic activity.

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