R.I. LEI drops again in March, but less severely than in Feb.
RHODE ISLAND'S Leading Economic Indicator Index -- produced jointly by Providence Business News and e-forecasting.com -- fell 0.1 percent in March after a decline of 0.5 percent the month earlier in February.
PROVIDENCE – An index of Rhode Island’s leading economic indicators produced by Providence Business News and e-forecasting.com fell in March for a second consecutive month, dropping one-tenth of a percent to 124.9 from 125 in February.
The decline in March followed a five-tenths-of-a-percent decrease in February, which was the first time since March 2013 that the state’s leading indicator growth rate fell month over month.
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.
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. In March 2013, the leading indicator index was 119.3.
Five of the nine components made a positive contribution to Rhode Island’s economy in March, including: the state employment barometer, building permits, national stock prices, the interest rate spread and the national orders index. March represented the sixth consecutive month that the state employment barometer registered a positive contribution on the Leading Economic Indicator Index.
The four components that made a negative contribution to the index in March included: unemployment claims, weekly hours in manufacturing, exports of manufactures and consumer expectations. Although March was the second month in a row that consumer expectations negatively impacted the state’s leading indicator index, the component showed improvement compared with February.
In March, Rhode Island’s six-month growth rate – “a signal of turning points” – was 4.7 percent, down from a rate of 5.6 percent in February.
By comparison, the long-term annual growth rate for the index was 1.8 percent, the same as the annual growth rate of the state’s overall economic activity.