Leading Economic Indicator for February declines


    The Grand Rapids Business Journal/e-forecasting.com MI Leading Economic Indicator, Michigan’s early bird of economic activity, decreased in February 2009 to a reading of 98.6, where 2000 is set equal to 100.

    The private forecasting service said the composite Michigan index of state leading indicators, which is produced jointly with Grand Rapids Business Journal, fell by 1.2 percent in February following a decline of 1.0 percent in January.

    One of the 10 components that make up Michigan’s Leading Indicator had a positive contribution in February: Interest Rate Spread.

    Nine of the 10 components had a negative contribution to Michigan’s Leading Indicator in February: Unemployment Claims, Weekly Hours in Manufacturing, Building Permits, Exports of Manufacturers, New Orders (Detroit Business), Consumer Expectations (Regional), Stock Prices (National), Productivity Barometer (Detroit Business) and Employment Barometer.

    Looking at its six-month growth rate, a signal of turning points, Michigan’s Leading Indicator went down by an annual rate of 8.2 percent in February, after a decline of 6.9 percent in January. This compares to a long-term annual growth rate of 1.8 percent, the same as the annual growth rate of the state’s overall economic activity.

    Evangelos Simos is chief economist of the consulting and research firm Infometrica Inc.

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