San Diego Business Journal

Local Economic Index Shows November Gain

By John Cox Friday, January 6, 2017
   

A local economic index jumped in November by its biggest margin in more than half a year, owing to improvement in the areas of consumer confidence, residential permitting activity and initial claims for unemployment.

The 0.3 percent gain in the University of San Diego Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County came despite declines in local stock prices and help-wanted ads.

After a steep rise followed by a modest correction in 2015, the monthly updated index was relatively flat in 2016. Since April, the gauge has risen twice, fallen four times and once remained unchanged.

Comments accompanying the update, released Jan. 5, predicted continuing but slower local economic growth in 2017. The center said the region is expected to add 25,000 jobs this year, and that the county’s unemployment rate is likely to increase to 4.6 percent from the current 4.3 percent.

“While November’s increase is welcome news, more is needed in the coming months to adjust the outlook, which is currently for a positive but slower growing local economy in 2017,” the update stated.

Authorizations for multifamily residential construction increased for a second consecutive month in November, which is typically a very slow time for such permits, the two-page report noted.

It said the labor market was mixed. A tally of unemployment insurance claims improved at a time of year when it typically doesn’t, while help wanted advertising declined for an eighth straight month.

Meanwhile, consumer confidence grew for a fifth consecutive month and local stock prices declined overall, even though they ended November higher than they were at the month’s start.

The only other component of the local gauge, the national Index of Leading Economic Indicators, held steady in November.