After 13 straight months of increases, the University of San Diego Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County fell 0.4 percent in July, a USD professor said Monday.
Five of the six sectors of the index were lower, especially those involving employment, Alan Gin said. He said consumer confidence and the outlook for the national economy were also down.
According to Gin, initial claims for unemployment insurance jumped above the 16,000 mark for the first time since August 2014, while help-wanted advertising hit its lowest level since last October. The drops have not been reflected yet in the local labor market, where the seasonally adjusted local unemployment rate was 5 percent in July, he said.
The only area of the index to perform well was local stock prices, which are likely to head downward in the next monthly update because of last week’s turmoil in the financial markets, he said.
“Although the increase in the index had slowed in recent months, the decline was unexpected as a couple of recently strong components — building permits and the outlook for the national economy — turned negative,” Gin said. “Despite the drop and despite concern that five of the six components were negative, the outlook for positive growth in the local economy remains unchanged for now.”
He said economists look for three consecutive changes in a leading index as a signal of a turning point in an economy, so the months ahead are critical, especially for the jobs picture.
The index in July stood at 139.6, which despite the July drop is still 12 points higher than when the streak of monthly improvements began in June last year.
—City News Service
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