Michigan Leading Economic Indicator falls a bit

May 17, 2009
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The Grand Rapids Business Journal/e-forecasting.com Michigan Leading Economic Indicator, the state’s early bird of economic activity, decreased in March 2009 to a reading of 97.5, where 2000 is set equal to 100.

The private forecasting service said the composite Michigan index of state leading indicators, which is produced jointly with Grand Rapids Business Journal, fell by 1 percent in March following a decline of 1.3 percent in February.

Two of the 10 components that make up Michigan's Leading Indicator had a positive contribution in March: Interest Rate Spread and Productivity Barometer (Detroit Business).

Eight of the 10 components had a negative contribution to Michigan's Leading Indicator: Unemployment Claims, Weekly Hours in Manufacturing, Building Permits, Exports of Manufactures, New Orders (Detroit Business), Consumer Expectations (Regional), Stock Prices (National) and Employment Barometer.

Looking at its six-month growth rate, a signal of turning points, Michigan's Leading Indicator went down by an annual rate of 9.4 percent in March, after a decline of 8.7 percent in February. This compares to a long-term annual growth rate of 1.9 percent, the same as the annual growth rate of the state's overall economic activity.

Evangelos Otto Simos is chief economist of the consulting and research firm Infometrica Inc.

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