By Kimberley Donoghue
PBN Web Editor
PROVIDENCE â€“ An index of Rhode Islandâ€™s leading economic indicators increased 0.3 percent in December.
The index, produced by e-forecasting.com and Providence Business News, rose to 118.6. A reading of 100 is equivalent to the stateâ€™s activity in 2000. In November, the index registered a 0.2 percent increase.
The index uses nine published statistics to forecast the direction of the stateâ€™s economy over the next three to six months, with positive numbers signaling growth and negative numbers signaling contraction.
Six of the nine statistics had positive contributions to the index, including: weekly hours in manufacturing, manufactured exports, national stock prices, the interest rate spread, the national orders index and the state employment barometer.
Three statistics had negative contributions: unemployment claims, building permits and regional consumer expectations.
The six-month growth rate â€“ â€śa signal of turning pointsâ€ť â€“ was 0.5 percent in December, after holding a rate of 0.3 percent in November. By comparison, the long-term annual growth rate was 2.3 percent, the same as the annual growth rate of the stateâ€™s overall economic activity.