San Diego Lead Economic Indicators Up Sharply AGAIN in Feb 2015

The USD Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County rose 1.3 percent in February.  For the second month in a row, all six components of the Index were up.  In fact, February’s results were almost identical to those of January:  Initial claims for unemployment insurance, help wanted advertising, and building permits were strongly positive, while consumer confidence, local stock prices, and the outlook for the national economy had more modest gains.

February’s gain was the ninth consecutive increase for the USD Index and the monthly increase was second only to last month as the largest since February 2011.  The outlook remains for strong growth in the local economy at least through the end of the year.  Since last month’s report, the annual adjustment to the employment data was released.  Wage and salary employment increased by 30,200 in San Diego County in 2014.  Initial reports suggested a higher job growth number, so the revised data were a little disappointing.  Still, the local economy has added more than 30,000 jobs in each of the last three years, something that hasn’t happened since the period 1997 – 2000.  The strongest growing sectors were leisure and hospitality (+8,200 jobs), health care (+5,300), professional, scientific and technical services (+4,600), retail (+2,900), construction (+2,600), and government (+2,400).

Index of Leading Economic Indicators – The index for San Diego County that includes the components listed below (February) … Source:  USD Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate +1.3%
Building Permits – Residential units authorized by building permits in San Diego County (February) … Source:  U.S. Census Bureau +1.58%
Unemployment Insurance – Initial claims for unemployment insurance in San Diego County, inverted (February) … Source:  Employment Development Department +2.46%
Stock Prices – San Diego Stock Exchange Index (February) … Source:  San Diego Daily Transcript +0.31%
Consumer Confidence – An index of consumer confidence in San Diego County , estimated (February) … Source: The Conference Board +0.68%
Help Wanted Advertising – An index of online help wanted advertising in San Diego (February) … Source: The Conference Board +2.38%
National Economy – Index of Leading Economic Indicators (February) … Source: The Conference Board +0.49%


Residential units authorized by building permits built on the momentum of January with another big gain.  The strength in the opening months of the year is significant as January and February are among the slowest months of the year for building permit activity. . . Both labor market variables remain extremely strong initial claims for unemployment insurance and help wanted advertising up ten and seven straight months respectively.  That puts help wanted advertising at its highest level since January 2013.  The net result was that the seasonally adjusted local unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent in February, which was down from 5.7 percent in January and from 7.1 percent in February 2014.  February’s rate was the lowest for San Diego County in almost seven years (since April 2008). . .  As has been mentioned in previous reports, the USD Index uses weighted moving averages of the data to smooth out erratic month-to-month changes and establish a trend in the direction of the components.  So while the trend in consumer confidence remains positive, the actual value of the component was down in February.  This could reflect the surge in gas prices that occurred during the month. . . Local stock prices continued to rise and have now advanced for six consecutive months, which indicates that the financial markets are positive about the prospects for San Diego companies. . . The outlook for the national economy continues to be positive, with the national Index of Leading Economic Indicators advancing for the 14th straight month.  The “third” estimate of GDP growth for the fourth quarter was 2.2 percent, the same as earlier estimates.  For 2014 as a whole, GDP grew by 2.4 percent, which is about the same growth rate as the previous two years (2.3 percent in 2012 and 2.2 percent in 2013).

February’s increase puts the USD Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County at 136.0, up from January’s reading of 134.2.  There were no revisions in the previously reported Index levels or the changes in either the overall Index or the individual components.  For the previously reported values for the Index and for the individual components, please visit the Website address given below.  The values for the USD Index for the last year are given below:

Index       % Change


FEB     127.9           +0.2

MAR    128.6           +0.5

APR    127.9            -0.5

MAY    127.5            -0.3

JUN     127.7           +0.2

JUL     128.0           +0.3

AUG    128.3           +0.3

SEP     129.0           +0.5

OCT    129.7           +0.5

NOV    131.3           +1.2

DEC    132.3           +0.7


JAN     134.2           +1.4

FEB     136.0        +1.3


For more information on the University of San Diego’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators, please contact:

Professor Alan Gin                           TEL:  (858) 603-3873

School of Business Administration     FAX:  (858) 260-4891

University of San Diego                    E-mail:

5998 Alcalá Park                                Website:

San Diego, CA 92110                          Twitter:  @alanginusdsba

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