Augusta Business Daily

Monday, June 5, 2023

Simon Says: Augusta LEI falls for sixth month in a row

The Augusta Leading Economic Index (LEI) recorded its sixth consecutive month of decline in December 2022. It finished the year 2.3 percent lower than December 2021.

Although the overall index was down, there was some good news in some of the indicator variables. For example, seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance declined 10 percent in December from November. Job openings in South Carolina increased. There were 169,000 job openings in October, 182,000 in November, and 187,000 in December.

Unfortunately, in Georgia, job openings fell sharply from 392,000 in November to 357,000 in December. Overall, therefore, the weighted average job openings for the Augusta MSA fell 7 percent.

Residential building permits fell 15 percent from November and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 4 percent. The inflation rate in the South fell to 7.0 percent.

The Augusta LEI is so-called because changes in the index precede real changes in the economy. The graph below shows that the LEI decline starting in July foreshadowed the decline in the Labor Market Index which started in October.

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