Leading Indicators Up in January

Note: Data problems delayed the release of this report. However, improved data availability means that future reports will be more timely in that they will come out two to three weeks earlier than previously.

March 27, 2002 -- The University of San Diego's Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County rose 0.4 percent in January. Big gains in building permits, consumer confidence, and the outlook for the national economy pushed the higher for the second month in a row. On the downside, help wanted advertising fell sharply and initial claims for unemployment insurance were up, a negative for the Index. Local stock prices were virtually unchanged, although with a slight negative bias.

The USD Index of Leading Economic Indicators is published under the auspices of the School of Business Administration's Real Estate Institute. For more information about the Institute, please visit its Website at http://realestate.sandiego.edu

Index of Leading Economic Indicators 
The index for San Diego County that includes the components listed below (January) 
Source: University of San Diego 
+ 0.4 % 
Building Permits 
Residential units authorized by building permits in San Diego County (January) 
Source: Construction Industry Research Board 
+ 0.96% 
Unemployment Insurance 
Initial claims for unemployment insurance in San Diego County, inverted (January) 
Source: Employment Development Department 
- 0.28% 
Stock Prices 
San Diego Stock Exchange Index (January) 
Source: San Diego Daily Transcript 
- 0.07%
Consumer Confidence 
An index of consumer confidence in San Diego County (January) 
Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
+ 1.48% 
Help Wanted Advertising 
An index of help wanted advertising in the San Diego Union-Tribune (January) 
Source: Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce 
- 1.07% 
National Economy 
Index of Leading Economic Indicators (January) 
Source: The Conference Board 
+ 1.44% 

The biggest news involving the individual components centered around the labor market variables. January is usually the worst month of the year for initial claims for unemployment insurance, as temporary workers are laid off after the holiday season. Initial claims totaled 20,046 for the month, which was the highest level since January 1997. News on the hiring side was not much better, as help wanted advertising fell for the eleventh straight month. The weakness on both sides of the labor market led to the County’s unemployment rate hitting 4.1% in January, which was the first time that the rate topped 4% since October of 1997. By comparison, the unemployment rate was 2.9% one year ago.

January's decrease puts the Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County at 137.9, up from December’s reading of 137.3. There was no change in the previously reported change of +0.4% for the month. The values for the Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County for the last year are given below:

    Index  % Change 
2001 JAN 147.2 +0.2%
  FEB 147.0 -0.2%
  MAR 145.3 -1.1%
  APR 143.7 -1.2%
  MAY 142.5 -0.8%
  JUN 141.1 -1.0%
  JUL 140.0 -0.7%
  AUG 139.3 -0.5%
  SEP 138.1 -0.9%
  OCT 137.3 -0.5%
  NOV 136.8 -0.4%
  DEC 137.3 +0.4%
2002 JAN 137.9 +0.4%

For more information on the University of San Diego's Index of Leading Economic Indicators, please contact:

Professor Alan Gin 
School of Business Administration 
University of San Diego 
5998 Alcalá Park 
San Diego, CA 92110 
TEL: (619) 260-4883 

FAX: (619) 501-2954 

E-mail: agin@home.com