San Diego’s economy continued to improve in May, according to the latest monthly report from the University of San Diego’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate.

An index measuring six components of the economy rose 0.7 percent in May, led by sharp increases in the amount of help-wanted ads and the national economic outlook.

Three other components of the Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County also showed increases: building permits, stock prices of local companies, and lower initial unemployment claims.

An index measuring local consumer confidence was the only component that dropped slightly during the month.

May’s index rise was its seventh straight increase, and the 26th month in a row without a decline.

Despite the consistent rise in the index, Alan Gin, the economics professor who compiles the data, said San Diego’s economy “remains in difficult straits.”

“The recession in the local economy probably ended in late 2009, meaning that the local economy stopped falling at that point. It has grown since then, but the growth has been very slow,” Gin said.

Gin said the outlook for the economy at least through the end of 2011 is positive.

— Mike Allen