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Iowa Leading Indicators Index remains steady in May


The Iowa Leading Indicators Index increased slightly to 110.8 in May from 110.7 in April. The monthly diffusion index remained unchanged at 50.0 for the second month in a row.

The Iowa nonfarm employment coincident index grew for the 14th month in a row with a 0.18% increase in May.

Four of the eight components increased month over month in May: average weekly
unemployment claims, residential building permits, the agricultural futures profit index and the Iowa Stock Market Index.

The new orders index, diesel fuel consumption, the national yield spread and average manufacturing hours detracted from the index.

May’s 12-month moving average of average weekly unemployment claims decreased from 2,180 in April to 2,021. Unemployment claims were 57.9% below May 2021 claims and 50.4% below average historical claims for May.

The agricultural futures profit index showed both grain commodities expecting profit gains and both livestock commodities expecting losses in profit. Compared with 2021, new crop corn prices were 29.8% higher while soybean prices were 8.2% higher. The May crush margin for hogs decreased 3% from April while the crush margin for cattle decreased 2.1%.

In May, 24 of the 29 companies on the Iowa Stock Market Index gained value, including nine of the 10 financial sector companies. The gains led to an increase in the Iowa Stock Market Index to 141.88 in May from a revised 139.12 in April.

Residential building permits issued in Iowa were at 1,257 in May, up from 944 in May 2021. The 12-month moving average increased to 1,118 in May from 1,092 in April.

The 12-month moving average of average weekly manufacturing hours saw a decrease in May to 39.16 from a revised 39.19 in April. Average hours in May 2022 were 39.6, coming in below the 40-hour average in May 2021 and an hour and a half below the historical monthly average.

The yield spread decreased in May to 1.91% from 1.99% in April. May is the 17th month in a row since December 2020 that the yield spread has been at or above 1.0%. The long-term rate increased 15 basis points while the short-term rate increased 23 basis points.

The 12-month moving average of diesel fuel consumption decreased to 67.96 million gallons in May from 68.09 million in April. Between May 2021 and May 2022, diesel fuel consumption decreased 2.4%.

During May, the new orders index decreased to 56.6 compared with 70.6 in April. The 12-month moving average of the new orders index has decreased to 67.03 from 73.48 in May 2021.

The full report is available online.

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