published on March 31, 2017 - 3:55 PM
Written by Gabriel Dillard

The San Joaquin Valley’s leading economic indicator soared to record levels in February, according to research from the Craig School of Business at Fresno State.

The San Joaquin Valley Business Conditions Index hit a record 60.2 last month, up from 59.5 in January. It was the sixth straight month of positive growth. An index greater than 50.0 indicates an expansionary economy over the next three to six months.

Economist Ernie Goss, research associate with the Craig School, produces the index each month from surveys of individuals making company purchasing decisions in Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare counties.

“Things are looking good moving ahead,” Goss said in a video accompanying the report. “I see the economy continue to expand.”

Sectors showing positive growth include manufacturing, construction, wholesale trade and distribution.

The employment index — after moving below growth neutral in December 2016 — hit a mark of 54.2 last month, up from 53.3 in January. Goss said the surveys indicate positive Valley job growth that will outpace the nation through the third quarter.

Almost 90 percent businesses in the region reported that a federal corporate tax rate cut would have a positive impact on their firm’s hiring and investment in the next year.

The prices-paid index, which tracks the cost of purchased raw materials and supplies, climbed to 63.5 from 60.4 in January, indicating rising, but not excessive, inflationary pressures at the wholesale level, Goss said.

Business confidence rose to a strong 75.3 in February. That index has risen from December’s 64.4.

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