Updated May 23 at 11:16am

Leading economic indicators rise for fourth consecutive month

An index of Rhode Island’s leading economic indicators produced by Providence Business News and e-forecasting.com rose 0.4 percent in August to 122.8 from 122.3 in July. More

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Leading economic indicators rise for fourth consecutive month

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PROVIDENCE – An index of Rhode Island’s leading economic indicators produced by Providence Business News and e-forecasting.com rose 0.4 percent in August to 122.8 from 122.3 in July.

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. In August 2012, the leading indicator index was 119.1.

The 0.4 percent increase in August followed an increase of 0.4 percent in July, signifying that economic growth in the state held steady over the month. August was the fourth consecutive month of improvement in Rhode Island’s leading economic indicators.

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.

Five of the nine components made a positive contribution to Rhode Island’s economy in August, including: unemployment claims, weekly hours in manufacturing, regional consumer expectations, the interest rate spread and the national orders index.

Two of the components made a negative contribution to index in August, including building permits and the state employment barometer, while two components – exports of manufactures and national stock prices – registered no contribution at all.

In August, Rhode Island’s six-month growth rate – “a signal of turning points” – was 2.8 percent, edging up from July’s revised 2.5 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.

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