The University of San Diego Burnham-Moores Institute for Real Estate’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators was unchanged last month, following five straight months of increases, professor Alan Gin said Wednesday.
He said gains in employment, consumer confidence and the outlook for the national economy were offset by drops in residential building permits authorized by local governments, help-wanted advertising and local stocks.
“While not negative, April’s unchanged mark broke a string of five consecutive monthly increases for the USD Index,” Gin said. “Whether this is the start of a significant shift remains to be seen.”
He said that for now, the outlook is still for positive but slower growth for the rest of this year and at least into the first part of next year.
An example of slower growth was the addition of 18,200 jobs in April, compared to the same month last year. According to Gin, that’s the smallest year-over-year gain since March 2012.
“More data is needed to determine whether April’s slowdown is the start of a trend or just a one-month aberration,” Gin said. He said it could be that with unemployment at a post-recession low, people looking for work are in short supply.
The number of building permits issued has fallen significantly for four straight months, which carries implications for future construction employment plus the need for jobs later in areas like real estate and finance, and purchases of furniture and appliances as people move into new units, the professor said.
In April, the index stood at 143.1. Gin said he originally reported March’s level to be 143.2, but it was revised downward due to changes to the national Index of Leading Economic Indicators and for local help wanted advertising.
—City News Service
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