Nonfarm employment gains as November leading indicators rise
The Iowa Leading Indicators Index increased 0.1 percentage point to 108.3 in November 2017, buoyed by a healthy gain in the nonfarm employment index. The monthly diffusion index — a measure of the proportion of the components that contribute positively to the index — decreased to 68.8 in November from 93.8 in October, with five of the eight components contributing positively, the Iowa Department of Revenue said. The annualized six-month change in the index decreased to 2.7 percent in November from a revised 2.9 percent in October; the downward revision resulted from lower October average manufacturing hours. Six of the eight indicators (agricultural futures profits index, average manufacturing hours, average weekly unemployment claims, diesel fuel consumption, the Iowa stock market index, and the new orders index) experienced an increase of greater than 0.05 percent over the last half-year. Iowa’s nonfarm employment index increased 0.11 percent in November, the biggest monthly gain since June’s 0.12 percent increase. The positive signals suggest that employment growth will continue into spring.