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Iowa Leading Indicators Index remains unchanged in August


The Iowa Leading Indicators Index remained unchanged from July to August, at 109.6. The monthly diffusion index increased to 50.0 in August from 25.0 in July.

The Iowa nonfarm employment coincident index recorded a 0.21% increase in August, the 17th month of growth.

Only three of the eight component indicators increased more than 0.05% over the last half-year: the agricultural futures profits index, average weekly unemployment claims and diesel fuel consumption.

Four of the eight components increased month over month in August: the Iowa Stock Market Index, diesel fuel consumption, residential building permits and average weekly unemployment claims. The national yield spread, the new orders index, average manufacturing hours and the agricultural futures profits index detracted from the index.

The 12-month moving average of average weekly unemployment claims decreased from 1,933 in July to 1,887 in August. Unemployment claims were 32.2% below August 2021 claims and 56.03% below average historical claims for August.

In August, 20 of the 28 companies on the Iowa Stock Market Index gained value, and seven of the 10 financial-sector companies increased. With over two-thirds of the stocks experiencing gains, the stock market index increased to 129.08 in August from a revised 117.94 in July.

Diesel fuel consumption increased 5.2% between August 2021 and August 2022. The 12-month moving average increased to 68.02 million gallons in August from 67.73 million in July.

Residential building permits were 1,263 in August, up from 1,023 in August last year. The 12-month moving average increased to 1,126 in August from 1,106 in July. August 2022 permits were 23.5% above August 2021, and 10.5% above the monthly historical average.

During August, the agricultural futures profit index showed both crop commodities and live cattle expecting profit increases and an expected decrease in live hog profits. The August crush margin for cattle increased 4.4% from July while the crush margin for hogs decreased 8.4%.

The 12-month moving average of average weekly manufacturing hours decreased to 39.10 in August from a revised 39.13 in July. In August 2022, average hours were 39.6, below the 39.9 hours in August 2021, and just over 1 1/2 hours below the historical monthly average.

The new orders index in August increased to 57.3, compared with 54.8 in July. However, since August 2021 the 12-month moving average of the new orders index has decreased to 62.13 from 63.78.

The yield spread decreased to 0.18% in August from 0.60% in July. August is the second month in a row since December 2020 that the yield spread has been below 1%. The long-term rate remained unchanged while the short-term rate increased 42 basis points.

The full report is available online.

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