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Iowa Leading Indicators Index shows December decrease, slight gain in January


The Iowa Leading Indicators Index increased 0.1% in January 2022 to 110.0 from a revised 109.9 in December 2021. The monthly diffusion index increased to 62.5 in January from 37.5 in December when the index dropped to its lowest since July 2020.

The Iowa nonfarm employment coincident index recorded a 0.18% increase in January, the 10th month of growth in a row. The six-month diffusion index increased in January to 68.8 from 50 in December, the first increase since March 2021.

Five of the eight components increased in January: average weekly unemployment claims, the agricultural futures profit index, the Iowa Stock Market Index, the national yield spread, and residential building permits.

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

Average weekly unemployment claims contributed positively to the index with the 12-month moving average of claims decreasing from 3,364 to 3,098. Unemployment claims were 51.7% below January 2021 claims and 29.6% below average historical claims for January.

In the first month of 2022, the agricultural futures profit index showed grain commodities expecting profit gains while expected profits for hogs increased and expected profits for cattle decreased. The January crush margin for hogs increased 4.3% from December while the crush margin for cattle decreased 5.5%. The crush margin involves the market value of the animal minus its initial cost and the cost of feeding it.

The Iowa Stock Market Index increased to 138.65 in January from 131.11 in December with 21 out of 30 companies gaining value, including nine of the 10 financial sector companies.

The yield spread increased to 1.61% from 1.41% in December, making January the 13th month in a row since January 2018 that the yield spread has been at or above 1%.

Diesel fuel consumption decreased 3.9% between January 2021 and January 2022. The 12-month moving average decreased to 66.85 million gallons in January from 67.05 million in December.

The 12-month moving average for weekly manufacturing hours decreased slightly in January from 39.4 to 39.3. In January 2022, average hours were 38.4, below the 39.3 hours in January 2021, and 2.5 hours below the historical monthly average.

In January, the new orders index declined to 69.1 from a revised 70.4 in December. The 12-month moving average of the new orders index has increased from 60.7 in January 2021.

The Iowa Department of Revenue also released the December 2021 Iowa Leading Indicators Index report, which is available in full online. The index decreased in December for the first time since August 2020, dropping 0.2% from 110.2 to 110.0. The monthly diffusion index decreased to its lowest since July 2020 while the Iowa nonfarm coincident index recorded a 0.25% increase in December.

View the full January report online

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