In January, Georgia Regents University’s James M. Hull College of Business Augusta Leading Economic Index (LEI) increased 0.2% from December.
The index has increased 5.6% from January 2014. This represents eleven consecutive months of growth. Employment remains strong with 228,700 people employed in the Augusta MSA in January.
January 2015 represented the first month when the Augusta MSA included Lincoln County for employment purposes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has revised employment data for the Augusta MSA back to 2005 (see graph). The story, however, remains the same: the Augusta area continues to see continued economic growth. Recent employment grow has been seen in education and health services, financial activities, transportation and utilities, and leisure and hospitality.
About the Index
The Augusta Leading Economic Index (Augusta LEI) is a monthly composite index that combines several national, regional, and local indicators into a single variable. Leading indexes combine variables that change before business cycle variables such as employment changes. Leading indexes may, therefore, indicate changes that could occur in the economy. Leading indexes are not forecasts or predictions about the future, but may signify future economic activity.
The Augusta LEI may provide local decision makers with timely information about future business cycle patterns in the Augusta area. The Augusta LEI uses economic indicators for the Augusta Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which includes seven counties (i.e., Burke, Columbia, Lincoln, McDuffie, and Richmond counties in Georgia, and Aiken and Edgefield counties in South Carolina).
The index also includes regional and national indicators to reflect that national trends affect the local economy. The index is constructed in the same way that the Conference Board constructs the Leading Economic Index for the United States.
About Simon Medcalfe
Simon Medcalfe is an Associate Professor of Finance in GRU’s Hull College of Business. He earned his doctoral degree from Lehigh University, and he received his master’s degree from the University of Leicester.
Medcalfe has authored numerous academic articles and is a former columnist for the The Augusta Chronicle’s “Your Business” section.