Leading indicators index continues rise in Feb.

AN INDEX of Rhode Island’s leading economic indicators - produced by PBN and - rose 1.2 percent in February - the fourth consecutive month of increases. For a larger version of this chart, click HERE.
Posted 4/5/12

PROVIDENCE – An index of Rhode Island’s leading economic indicators rose 1.2 percent in February.

The index, produced by and Providence Business News, rose to 120.3. A reading of 100 is equivalent to the state’s activity in 2000.

The February increase marked the fourth consecutive month of rises. The index rose 0.9 percent in January after more than doubling the index’s 0.4 percent increase registered in December 2011.

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.

Eight of the nine statistics had positive contributions to the index in February, including: unemployment claims, weekly hours in manufacturing, building permits, consumer expectations, state employment barometer, stock prices, interest rate spread and orders index.

Only the exports of manufactures statistic had a negative contribution.

The six-month growth rate – “a signal of turning points” – was 3.6 percent in February after holding a rate of 1.7 percent in January.

By comparison, the long-term annual growth rate for the index was 2.2 percent, the same as the annual growth rate of the state’s overall economic activity.

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