Today’s Buzz: Augusta Economic Commentary
Courtesy: Augusta LEI
In July, the Augusta LEI increased 0.8% percent from June. The index is up 5.4% from July 2010. Sources of strength this month included residential housing permits and job openings. Two hundred and fifty five (255) residential permits were issued for the Augusta MSA, the highest number for the month of July since 2004, before the housing market collapse. This comes after an impressive number of permits were issued in May but a lack luster June. Job openings for the South, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, now stand at the highest level since November 2008. After a disappointing first six months of the year, employment in the Augusta MSA has increased by 2,400 jobs in the last two months. Employment has now returned to the level seen at the beginning of the year.
About the Index
The Augusta Leading Economic Index (Augusta LEI) is a monthly composite index that combines several national, regional and local indicators into a single variable. Leading indexes combine variables that change before business cycle variables such as employment changes. Leading indexes may, therefore, indicate changes that could occur in the economy. Leading indexes are not forecasts or predictions about the future, but may signify future economic activity.
The Augusta LEI may,therefore, provide local decision makers with timely information about future business cycle patterns in the Augusta area. The Augusta LEI uses economic indicators for the Augusta Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which includes six counties (i.e., Burke, Columbia, McDuffie, and Richmond counties in Georgia, and Aiken and Edgefield counties in South Carolina).
The index also includes regional and national indicators to reflect that national trends affect the local economy. The index is constructed in the same way that the Conference Board constructs the Leading Economic Index for the United States.