Written by The Business Journal Staff
April’s San Joaquin Valley Business Conditions Index fell to its lowest level since November 2012 but continues to point to overall economic growth.
The overall index in April sank to 50.4 from 57.2 in March, but remains above the 50.0 growth neutral threshold, indicating an expansionary economy over the next three to six months, according to Dr. Ernie Goss, the index’s author.
The index, which Goss produces for Fresno State’s Craig School of Business, is a leading economic indicator from a survey of individuals making company purchasing decisions in Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare counties. The guide uses the same methodology as that of the national Institute for Supply Management.
“According to our survey results over the past several months, economic growth will remain positive but somewhat weaker in the months ahead,” said Goss, research faculty with the Craig School. “As it did in February, growth slowed for durable goods manufacturers. On the other hand, food processors, wholesale trade and business services firms continue to experience healthy growth.”
Goss said the guide shows slight job losses for the month.
“Gains for construction and manufacturing were more than offset by losses for firms with tight linkages to agriculture and international markets,” he said.
For the first time since October 2013, the index’s regional hiring gauge fell below the growth neutral 50.0 threshold. The employment table slumped to 49.4 from 57.8 in March.
The prices-paid index, which tracks the cost of purchased raw materials and supplies, advanced to 51.7 from March’s 48.9. The findings indicate little evidence of inflationary pressures at the wholesale level.
Looking ahead six months, economic optimism, as captured by the business confidence index, rose to 48.9 from March’s 47.9.
Businesses expanded inventories of raw materials and supplies in April, but at a slower pace than during March. The April inventory guide sank to 59.8 from 69.6 in March.