An index measuring San Diego’s economy rose 0.5 percent in April, continuing a streak of eight consecutive months that it has increased.

The USD Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County showed gains in five of six components last month, led by a strong rise in the outlook for the national economy.

The other parts of the index that increased were building permits, unemployment claims (fewer registered as positive), local stock prices, and help wanted ads. The sole decline was in the local consumer confidence.

Alan Gin, the USD economics professor who compiles the data for the index, said the outlook for the rest of the year is for solid growth that will probably spill over to 2014.

The county is on pace to add nearly 30,000 jobs this year, which would be the highest since 2000, Gin said. He also noted the county’s unemployment rate dropped to 7 percent in April (seasonally adjusted, 7.4 percent), compared to the national jobless rate of 7.5 percent.

It marked the first time the area’s jobless rate fell below that of the nation since July 2007, he said.

The rebound in the housing market should buoy the local economy and spur it to a better growth rate than the rest of the nation for the remainder of the year, Gin said.

— SDBJ Staff Report