Report indicates Iowa economy is improving
A new report today shows Iowa’s economy gaining ground in February, with new construction giving the index the strongest boost.
Iowa’s Leading Indicator Index pushed higher in February to 104.7 from 104.6 in January. Four of eight economic indicators showed improvement: residential building permits, average weekly manufacturing hours, an index tracking stocks of Iowa interest, and declining initial unemployment claims.
An index tracking farm profits contributed negatively to the index as did diesel fuel consumption, the national yield spread and an index that tracks demand for manufactured goods.
A six-month snapshot of the index entered positive territory for the first since September, according to the Iowa Department of Revenue, which compiles the report.
And a separate index tracking employment pushed higher for its 17th consecutive month, with its 0.10 gain in February the strongest since November 2007.
“The index’s recent moves suggest that Iowa employment growth will remain positive but slow this spring,” the state said.
The report shows:
– Building permits issued in February, while still about 48 percent below its historic average, was 6 percent higher than a year earlier.
– Initial unemployment insurance claims have fallen for the 28th consecutive month, dipping 11.2 percent in February below February 2011.
– Diesel fuel consumption fell 1.3 percent below a year ago, possibly due to higher fuel prices pushing shipping from trucks to other transportation modes.