USD report show minor uptick in economic index

City News Service

The USD Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County released Friday rose 0.1 percent in September.

Professor Alan Gin said slight increases in help wanted advertising, local consumer confidence and the national Index of Leading Economic Indicators outweighed decreases in employment, stock prices of San Diego-based companies and the number of authorized residential building permits.

The amount of help wanted ads has increased for eight months in a row, consumer confidence rebounded after a sharp drop in August, and the national leading economic indicators have risen 14 of the past 15 months, according to Gin.

On the other hand, he said the number of building permits has fallen four straight months — but remains ahead of last year — and local stock prices fell 18 percent in the past quarter.

“Movement in the USD Index has been erratic in recent months, with the index alternating advances and declines in each of the last five months,’' Gin said. This is symptomatic of the uncertainty in the economy at this point.’'

He said news is pointing in a positive direction.

“The local economy is poised to add jobs on an annual basis for the first time in three years, and the local unemployment rate fell below 10 percent after a surge in the summer,’' Gin said.

He said concerns remain with the weak housing market, the international economy and fiscal problems at all levels of government. He said the biggest worry could be people’s perception that the country is headed in the wrong direction.

“Whether the positives can overcome the negatives is up in the air at this point,’' Gin said.

The index has moved up and down in a narrow range since April, when it increased by 1 percent.

The report marked the 20th anniversary of the Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County. Gin issued his first index in October 1991, according to the university.

He will be honored by both the county Board of Supervisors and the San Diego City Council next month.