San Diego Business Journal

Neither Rising Nor Falling: Economic Index Strikes Balance

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

An index measuring San Diego’s economy was flat in August, compared to its July number, the second time that’s happened in the last three months.

Despite a strong increase in new building permits and a moderate gain in help wanted advertising, four of the six components caused the USD Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County to finish at zero for the month. It was also flat in June, but has increased nine of the last 13 months.

The four components that fell in August were initial claims for unemployment insurance (higher claims leading to a negative measure); stock prices; consumer confidence and the nation’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators.

Alan Gin, the USD economics professor who compiles the index, said the two flat months and the fact that more of its components fell raise some potential issues.

“Right now those issues are minor and it would take more negative data in the months ahead before a red flag is raised,” Gin said. “For now, the outlook remains positive.”

He noted that the region added 30,000 jobs in August, the third consecutive month it’s seen strong year-over-year gains.

The state is leading the nation in terms of jobs created in the last few months, and San Diego is contributing and benefiting from that fact, Gin said. An expanding state economy means more orders for local firms, and more visitors to the region, he said.