Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Local Economy Eases Up; Leading Indicator Indexes in the Jacksonville Area Have Dropped the Last Three Months

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Local Economy Eases Up; Leading Indicator Indexes in the Jacksonville Area Have Dropped the Last Three Months

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK BASCH

The national economy was showing signs of strength in July but Jacksonville's economy could be weakening, according to indexes of future economic activity.

The Conference Board reported Thursday that its U.S. Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators rose 0.9 percent in June after being unchanged in May. The June increase was the largest since another 0.9 percent gain in December 2003.

But the Index of Leading Indicators for the Jacksonville area, compiled by the University of North Florida's Local Economic Indicators Project, fell 0.52 points in June to 108.53. Although the June drop was largely due to declines in local stocks, the overall index has now fallen for three straight months.

"For the first time since the end of 2003, the last three months of the LEIP [the indicators] have been down. This is not a good sign for the end of 2005," said UNF economist Paul Mason, who coordinates the LEIP project.

The indexes of leading indicators are designed to project economic activity several months in advance. …

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