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Iowa Leading Indicators Index remains unchanged in September


The Iowa Leading Indicators Index increased 0.1% in September from August, but due to rounding, the index remained at 109.3. September is the 12th month in a row the index has increased. The monthly diffusion index decreased to 50 in September from August’s revised 62.5.

The Iowa nonfarm employment coincident index rose 0.2% from August. The six-month diffusion index decreased for the second time in a row from 81.3 in August to 75 in September.

Four of the index’s eight components increased in September: average weekly unemployment claims (inverted), the agricultural futures profits index, diesel fuel consumption and the national yield spread. The other four components that detracted from the index were the new orders index, average manufacturing hours, the Iowa Stock Market Index and residential building permits.

Unemployment insurance claims contributed the most to the index in September, with the 12-month moving average decreasing to 4,280 from 4,554 in August. Average monthly claims have declined 66.8% from last August, and are 33.9% below the monthly historical average.

The largest detractor from the index in September was the new orders index. Its 12-month moving average declined to 75.1 from 76.4 in August, marking the first month of decrease in the last 12 months despite overall gains since September 2020.

After contributing positively in August, the 12-month moving average for manufacturing hours decreased from 39.9 to 39.8 in September. Average hours were nearly two and a half hours below the historical monthly average.

The Iowa Stock Market Index also detracted from this month’s index after an increase in August as only eight of the 30 companies gained value, and two of the 10 financial-sector companies increased. The losses resulted in the stock market index’s decrease to 128.7 from 133.1 in August.

The agricultural futures profits index showed in September both grain commodities and hogs expecting profits, and live cattle expecting profit loss. September crush margin for cattle decreased 5.3% from August while the crush margin for hogs increased 0.7%. The crush margin involves the market value of the animal minus its initial cost and the cost of feeding it.

The yield spread increased to 1.33% in September from 1.23% in August. September is the ninth consecutive month the yield spread has been above 1%.

Taxable gallons of diesel fuel sold in Iowa increased in September, with the 12-month moving average rising 65.8 gallons from 65.6 gallons in August. Since September 2020, diesel fuel consumption has increased 3.7%.

The full report is available online.

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