PROVIDENCE – An index of Rhode Island’s leading economic indicators produced by Providence Business News and e-forecasting.com rose to 122.1 in February.
A reading of 100 on the Providence Business News/e-forecasting.com Leading Economic Indicator Index is equivalent to the state’s activity in 2000.
The state leading indicator rose 0.5 percent in February after a revised 0.4 percent increase in January. February marked the seventh consecutive month of increases in the index.
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.
Four of the nine statistics had positive contributions to the index in February, including: building permits, national stock prices, interest rate spread and the national orders index.
Five components made negative contributions to Rhode Island’s economy in February, including: unemployment claims, weekly hours in manufacturing, exports of manufacturers, regional consumer expectations and the state employment barometer.
In February, Rhode Island’s six-month growth rate – “a signal of turning points” – was 3.7 percent, a slight decrease from January’s 4.5 percent rate.
By comparison, the long-term annual growth rate for the index was 2 percent, the same as the annual growth rate of the state’s overall economic activity.