The WSU Leading Economic Indicators Index is designed to give an indication of where the Wichita economy is headed. Leading indicators tend to change before the economy itself changes. The WSU Leading Economic Indicators Index is composed of nine monthly indicators including:Monthly initial claims for unemployment insuranceBuilding permits, new residential constructionBuilding permits, new non-residential constructionNational Index of Consumer ConfidenceAverage weekly hours worked in manufacturingNew orders for aircraftStock prices of aerospace companiesWheat prices (futures) and theConference Board’s national index of leading economic indicatorsThe WSU Current Conditions Index is designed to reflect the present state of the economy. The WSU Leading Economic Indicators Index, on the other hand, is designed to forecast future movements in the economy.
In each of the three months ending July 2008, the WSU Leading Economic Indicators Index declined slightly. However, in the 12 months ending in July, the Index grew at twice the rate of the previous 12 months. The indicators showing the largest percentage growth during that time were the inflation-adjusted value of Wichita's non-residential building permits (34.9 percent), and the inflation-adjusted price of wheat futures (65.1 percent). The biggest drag on the Index was a 29.7 percentage point drop in the national Index of Consumer Confidence.* The continuing strength of the Leading Index suggests at least moderate growth for the rest of the year.
*Source: The Conference Board, 2008. All Rights Reserved. No claim to orig. U.S. Govt. works pursuant to U.S. Contract No. 52-SABA-5-00128.