The University of San Diego‘s economic index set a record high for the second month in a row in February, forecasting continued economic growth through the end of the year.
The index of leading economic indicators compiled by the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate rose 0.7 percent in February. It was the 16th consecutive increase in the index.
“There is no change from the previously reported outlook for the local economy: positive growth in the economy at least through the end of 2018,” wrote Alan Gin, associate professor of economics, in the report.
Measures of help-wanted advertising, initial claims for unemployment insurance, the outlook for the national economy, building permits and consumer confidence were all positive. The only negative component in the index was a decline in local stock prices amid the general sell-off on Wall Street.
But the report included some cautions about the future.
“While the short-term continues to look bright, both the local and national economies have to deal the long-run problem of shrinking employment opportunities due to improvements in technology,” wrote Gin.
“The internet has reduced the need for employees in banks, travel agencies, retailing, and other industries,” he noted. “Automation has already had a big impact on manufacturing employment and may impact industries such as restaurants, retailing, and transportation.”
Gin said the long-term question for both the local and national economy is whether technological change will lead to new opportunities as has always been the case in the past.
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