PROVIDENCE – An index of Rhode Island’s leading economic indicators produced by Providence Business News and e-forecasting.com rose to 121.4 in December.
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 December after rising a revised 0.2 percent in November. December marked the fifth consecutive month of increases on 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.
Six of the nine statistics had positive contributions to the index in December, including: unemployment claims, weekly hours in manufacturing, exports of manufacturers, national stock prices, interest rate spread and the state’s employment barometer.
Three components made negative contributions to Rhode Island’s economy in December, including: building permits, regional consumer expectations and the national orders index.
In December, Rhode Island’s six-month growth rate – “a signal of turning points” – was 3.4 percent, a slight increase from the revised 3.3 percent rate in November.
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.