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Orange County-Leading Economic Indicators (OC-LEI) Index Continues to Rise in 2015


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

For Release: September 2, 2015
Kelly Cunningham 858-642-8008 /
Erik Bruvold 858-642-8498 /

“As of June 2015, the LEI continues nine consecutive months of upward momentum since the one-month lull of September 2014. The outlook also appears to have noticeably slowed since March 2015 after accelerated expansion,” says Kelly Cunningham, National University System Institute for Policy Research (NUSIPR) Economist and Senior Fellow.

“With the positive gains from fewer initial claims for unemployment insurance (UI) being reported, stronger consumer confidence across the state, and more residential building permits being issued, the outlook for the next six to nine months remains positive. With stock prices and national LEIs more moderate, as well as the count of on-line help wanted ads decreasing, the outlook for the rest of the year appears still positive but a bit more subdued.”

Initial UI claims fell 2.5 percent in June, making the greatest contribution to the index’s improvement in 2015. (Note: since lower claims for unemployment are positive for the economy, the figure is reversed in the composite index of LEIs.) UI claims (after seasonal adjustment and 3-month moving average calculation) have steadily declined since the end of 2013, and were the strongest positive factor in the improving outlook in the composite OC-LEI index.

Building permits also continue to positively contribute to the rising outlook and showed the largest increase in June at 4.9 percent, the strongest gain for construction since 2013.
Consumer confidence across the state of California also remains positive. The pace of increase, 0.9 percent in June, however, slowed from a year ago when increases of 2-3 percent were recorded.

Stock prices and the national LEI index remain positive as well, although slowing from earlier in the year. Help-wanted online ads show the only decline, falling 2.3 percent in June.

About the Author: The LEI Index’s lead author, Kelly Cunningham, is Fellow and Senior Economist with the National University System Institute for Policy Research. Mr. Cunningham has been studying the California economy for more than 30 years. Previously he was chief economist and research director with the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and is a frequent source for analysis and commentary on economic activity to the media, academia, government, and private sectors. He is author of the “San Diego Economic Ledger” and reports on diverse topics ranging from the economic impact of the Unmanned Vehicle Industry to innovation/technology sectors in the San Diego region.

About the National University System Institute for Policy Research: The National University System Institute for Policy Research (NUSIPR) is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that formulates and promotes high quality economic policy, and public opinion research so as to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of local governments in San Diego County and to improve the quality of life enjoyed by the region’s residents.

NUSIPR publishes regular independent research and analysis for the public on a range of topics, including unemployment, business growth, and the San Diego housing market. The Institute also works collaboratively with clients to develop high quality research products that are tailored to their policy needs.

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