Written by The Business Journal Staff
The San Joaquin Valley Business Conditions Index, the leading economic indicator from a survey of individuals making company purchasing decisions for firms in the counties of Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare, advanced into a range pointing to solid growth within the next 6 months.
An index of greater than 50 indicates an expansionary economy. From February’s recent low of 50.5, the region’s index expanded to 53.7.
The February reading was the lowest since August 2016.
“This is the 19th straight month that the overall index has moved above growth neutral. Both durable and non-durable goods manufacturing reported solid gains for the month,” said Fresno State research faculty Ernie Goss with the Craig School of Business. “Food processing continues to be a major contributor to regional growth. As in recent months, construction, and wholesale trade activity in the San Joaquin Valley continued to expand at a healthy pace.”
After two months of below growth neutral ratings, the employment gauge jumped from 40.7 to 50.6 and the region has experienced a 3.3 percent growth over 12 months. This is more than double the nation’s 1.5 percent average.
Raw materials have dropped to 77.1 from 77.8 in February while March inventories have expanded by 1.1 from 54.4, though new export orders shrank to 46 from 47.5 and the index for imports fell from 61.2 to 52.8.
New orders and production or sales, however, have grown to 51.9 from 45.5 and from 51.6 to 50.5, and business confidence has gone up from 66.4 to 69.3.
“I expect this pace to remain strong for the next 3 to 6 months,” Goss said.