In July the Augusta Leading Economic Index (LEI) decreased 0.4% from June. It is 0.7% lower than July 2017 – the first time it has shown a year on year decrease since October 2009. July often sees a jump in initial claims for unemployment insurance with school leavers entering the labor force, but this year saw the highest number in five years.
The Labor Market Index (LMI) decreased 0.1% from June but remains 1.4% higher than July last year. Employment fell (on a seasonally adjusted basis) from June but the unemployment rate fell to 3.9%. Average weekly earnings and hours worked both inched higher.
Dr. Simon Medcalfe, Professor of Economics and Finance, James M. Hull College of Business at Augusta University