Some upward movement in the Iowa Leading Indicators Index suggests that employment growth in the state should remain positive into the holiday season, the Iowa Department of Revenue said this morning in a release.
The index recorded a positive change of 0.2 points in August 2012, rising to 105.6, from 105.4 in July. The monthly diffusion index remained at 75, reflecting widespread positive changes among the eight components for the month. The six-month annualized change in the index continued to be positive (1.4 percent) for the seventh consecutive month, and the six-month diffusion index also rose. Employment growth remained at the July level.
The most positive contributor was the number of building permits issued in August, with the 12-month moving average for building permits increasing to 721 from 702 in July, the highest level in four years. The Iowa housing market appears to be in recovery, the report said, as permits were only 0.5 percent below the historical August average of 1,162 (1998-2008), which was the closest permits have been to the average since 2008.
The second most positive contributor in August was the new orders index, which at 65 was above the value of 50.4 from one year ago and the same value as July.
Average weekly manufacturing hours was the largest negative contributor in August. August 2012 hours were 39.8 versus 40.8 in August 2011, more than 1.5 hours below the monthly historical average (1996-2008).
The Iowa Leading Indicators Index August 2012 Report is available here.