San Diego Business Journal

Local Economic Index Shows Gain of 0.2 Percent for July

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

San Diego’s economy could be rebounding; it registered a two-tenths of 1 percent uptick in July, according to an index of six measures compiled by the University of San Diego’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate.

The Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County edged up after falling by 0.2 percent in June. That was the first drop in the index in 27 months.

Alan Gin, the USD economist who compiles the data, said while July’s gain reduces some fears about a double-dip recession occurring both nationally and locally, there is still a chance it might happen — “and it is growing.”

Last month’s consumer confidence index fell by 1.19 percent. There were also smaller declines in building permits issued and initial claims for unemployment. There were offsetting gains in the amount of help-wanted advertising, the national economic outlook and higher stock prices of local companies.

Gin noted the area’s high unemployment rate of 10.5 percent in July and lagging consumer confidence have dampened spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity.

The lack of consumption combined with a drop in government spending at all levels due to cutbacks have “caused the gross domestic product to slow to a crawl,” Gin said.

“Add to that a weak housing and real estate market, increased inflation, and political turmoil over fiscal policy and the ingredients for a downturn are there,” he said.

— Mike Allen