PROVIDENCE – An index of Rhode Island’s leading economic indicators increased 0.9 percent in January.
The index, produced by e-forecasting.com and Providence Business News, rose to 119.5. A reading of 100 is equivalent to the state’s activity in 2000. The January increase more that doubled the index’s 0.4 percent increase registered in December.
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.
Seven of the nine statistics had positive contributions to the index in January, including: unemployment claims, weekly hours in manufacturing, building permits, exports of manufactures, stock prices, interest rate spread and orders index.
Only two statistics – consumer expectations and the state employment barometer – had negative contributions.
The six-month growth rate – “a signal of turning points” – was 1.7 percent in January, after posting a rate of 0.5 percent in December. By comparison, the long-term annual growth rate was 2.2 percent, the same as the annual growth rate of the state’s overall economic activity.