Metro Toledo’s index of leading economic indicators rose again in April, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said Friday.
It’s the fourth straight month of improvement for the index. The state said the April increase suggests higher employment growth going forward.
The index is a group of measures the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services uses to try to predict future economic activity. It includes employment, initial jobless claims, average weekly hours in manufacturing, and valuation of housing permits.
For metro Toledo, which includes Fulton, Lucas, Ottawa, and Wood counties, the index increased 0.5 percent to 89.1. The index is baselined to 2000, which would score a 100.
State officials said metro Toledo had a seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment of 305,900 in April, up about 500 from March. Metro Toledo added 2,300 jobs from April, 2012, to April, 2013.
The number of housing permits issued in April was two times what was issued in March, and more than doubled from the year prior. The state said those 94 permits issued in April were worth $16.6 million. That’s up 51 percent from March and 71 percent from April, 2012.
The state said there were 3,105 initial claims for unemployment insurance in April, which was up 8 percent from May. However, year-over-year there was a 4 percent drop in new unemployment claims.
Overall, the state said Ohio’s leading economic indicator index rose 0.1 percent to 92.7, suggesting slow but continued economic growth.
Nonfarm employment in Ohio rose to 5,183,200 in April from 5,175,600 in March. Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell 0.1 percent from March to April, and fell 6.2 percent from April, 2012, to April, 2013.
All eight of Ohio’s metro areas included in Friday’s report improved from March to April. Metro Toledo tied with metro Youngstown for the largest increase, at 0.5 percent.
Still, the two areas lag behind much of the state. At 87.1, Dayton is the lowest, followed by Youngstown at 89.0 and Toledo at 89.1
Columbus, which rose 0.2 percent, is the highest-scoring metro area, at 104.6. It’s also the only metro area currently above the year 2000 baseline.
The National Composite Index of Leading Indicators was 95 in April, up from 94.4 in March, and up from 92.9 in April, 2012.
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