San Diego Business Journal

Building Permit Activity Gives USD Index a Boost

By Mike Allen Thursday, August 2, 2012

An index measuring San Diego’s economy rose a tenth of 1 percent in June, the eighth consecutive time it’s moved up, propelled by a strong increase in the number of local building permits issued.

The latest rise in the University of San Diego Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators follows on increases of 0.7 percent in May and 0.6 percent in April.

The June index included three of its six components that increased, and three that declined. While the June rise was weak, and included three components that fell (the most in nine months), the outlook remains for positive growth, according to Alan Gin, the USD economics professor who compiles the data.

Gin cited the outstanding jobs report for June that showed a net gain of 24,000 jobs compared to the same month in 2011, the best since 2005.

“Barring an international event (Europe, China, the Middle East) that tips the national economy into a double dip recession, that job growth is expected to last the rest of the year and into at least the first half of 2013,” Gin said.

In June, the index showed strong gains in new building permits for apartments, while single family permits decreased. The other positives were in a rise in classified ads, and in consumer confidence.

The decreases came from a rise in initial claims for unemployment insurance (counted as negative), falling stock prices, and the national economic indicator index declining in the month.