Leading Economic Indicators Down Slightly in August

October 6, 2005 -- The University of San Diego's Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County fell 0.1% in August, reversing a similarly sized gain in July.  Like July, four components--building permits, consumer confidence, help wanted advertising, and the outlook for the national economy--were down in August, although none of the declines was particularly steep.  On the positive side, initial claims for unemployment insurance showed significant strength, and there was a slight rise in local stock prices.

Index of Leading Economic Indicators 
The index for San Diego County that includes the components listed below (August) 
Source: University of San Diego 
- 0.1 % 
Building Permits 
Residential units authorized by building permits in San Diego County (August) 
Source: Construction Industry Research Board 
- 0.29% 
Unemployment Insurance 
Initial claims for unemployment insurance in San Diego County, inverted (August) 
Source: Employment Development Department 
+ 0.93% 
Stock Prices 
San Diego Stock Exchange Index (August) 
Source: San Diego Daily Transcript 
+ 0.07%
Consumer Confidence 
An index of consumer confidence in San Diego County (August) 
Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
- 0.42% 
Help Wanted Advertising 
An index of help wanted advertising in the San Diego Union-Tribune (August) 
Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
- 0.56% 
National Economy 
Index of Leading Economic Indicators (August) 
Source: The Conference Board 
- 0.42% 

August's small decrease broke a modest two-month upturn in the USD Index of Leading Economic Indicators.  The Index has flattened out in the last four months, with only small changes   in either direction.  The outlook for the local economy is for continued modest growth through the end of the year and into the first half of 2006.  Potential trouble spots continue to be the slowing of the housing market, softness in the national economy, and the uncertainty surrounding the city of San Diego fiscal crisis.

Highlights: Residential units authorized by building permits are projected to top 17,000 for 2005, down just slightly from the number for 2004.  The trend seen in the first half of the year continues, with multifamily units authorized up significantly and single family units down. . . The labor market variables remain mixed.  Initial claims for unemployment insurance have declined significantly over the last four months, which is a positive for the Index.  On the other hand, help wanted advertising declined each month over that same period.  The net result was that the local unemployment rate was 4.3% in August, which was down from 4.4% in July. . . Local stock prices matched the overall market trends by increasing in July and bucked them with a modest gain in August. . . The trend for consumer confidence remains negative.  The moving average for that component has now dropped for eight consecutive months, although the pace of the decline is slackening a bit.  This mirrors the trend at the national level, where high gas prices, the conflict in Iraq, and concerns about the response to Hurricane Katrina appears to have damaged the national psyche. . . The outlook for the national economy remains cloudy.  After a sharp gain in June, the national Index of Leading Economic Indicators was down in both July and August.  Some of the factors weighing negatively against the national economy are high oil and gasoline prices, rising short-term interest rates, and the fallout from the hurricanes that hit the Gulf Coast.

August's decrease puts the Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County at 142.0, down from July's reading of 142.2.  There have been some revisions to the data going all the way back to the beginning of the year.  Please visit the Index of Leading Economic Indicators Website at the address below to get the values for the revised components.  The values for the Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County for the last year are given below:


% Change
2004 AUG 142.2 +0.1%
SEP 142.1 -0.1%
OCT 142.1 +0.0%
NOV 142.8 +0.5%
DEC 143.5 +0.5%
2005 JAN 143.4 -0.1%
FEB 143.3 -0.1%
MAR 142.7 -0.4%
APR 142.1 -0.4%
MAY 142.0 -0.1%
JUN 142.1 +0.1%
JUL 142.2 +0.1%
AUG 142.0 -0.1%

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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: (858) 603-3873 

FAX: (858) 484-5304 

E-mail: agin@san.rr.com