Augusta Economic Index
According to Simon Metcalfe, Associate Professor of Finance at Augusta University, the leading economic index is on its way up. The LEI, which helps forecast future economic activity, increased in December and was the second biggest in 18 months. Employment growth was particularly strong in the last two months of 2016, although job openings declined, as did real deposits in local banks.
Some of the Augusta data still missing for 2016 is for hours worked and earnings. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which publishes this data, found errors in these series for many metro areas. The corrected figures are expected to be released in March.
Information that is available includes that 4,800 new jobs were created in 2016, and the unemployment rate fell from 5.9 percent in December 2015 to 5.4 percent in December 2016. However, 2016 average annual jobs growth in Augusta lags the state and the nation for the sixth consecutive year.