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Leading Index inches up, points to positive growth

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Staff Report
Published Aug. 31, 2015

sc indicators 8-31 graphic
Graphic/S.C. Department of Commerce
The South Carolina Leading Index edged upward in July, pointing to positive economic growth for the next three to six months, the S.C. Department of Commerce reported.

In July the index gained 0.09 points, ending with a value of 101.94. A value of 100 points or more indicates positive economic growth for three to six months.

A 13.4% increase in number of new residential building permits was the biggest contributor to the index. In addition, the value of the permits increased 6.9%, the Commerce Department reported.

On the downside, the number of initial claims for Unemployment Insurance rose 7.2% for July and the average manufacturing workweek declined by 0.2 hours or 0.5%.

Last month, the Conference Board’s national Leading Economic Index lost 0.2% to reach a value of 123.3.

A strong growth trend for exports was reported last month by the U.S. International Trade Association.

Through the first half of 2015, South Carolina’s export volume is up 1.9% compared with the first half of 2014. Meanwhile, the total export volume for the United States was down 5.4% over the same period.

“In the second quarter of 2015, South Carolina exported more than $8 billion in merchandise, achieving a new quarterly record for the state, and surpassing North Carolina for the quarter,” the Commerce Department report said. “For the first time, South Carolina’s exports for the quarter exceeded 2% of the nation’s total despite its population being only 1.5% of the U.S. population.”

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