The San Joaquin Valley Business Conditions Index has moved down, but still points to strong growth in the next three to six months.

“The region is currently experiencing solid manufacturing growth combined with upturns in regional construction,” said Dr. Ernie Goss, research faculty with the Craig School of Business at Fresno State. “However, as in past months, durable, or heavy manufacturing, continues to lag behind non-durable manufacturing, including food processing.”

The index is a leading economic indicator from a survey of individuals making company purchasing decisions for firms in the counties of Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare. The index is produced using the same methodology as that of the national Institute for Supply Management.

Employment: After moving below growth neutral for December, the employment gauge climbed above the threshold every month since. The August index declined to a still healthy 57.9 from July’s record high of 63.2. “Over the past 12 months, the San Joaquin [Valley] region has experienced strong and improving job growth at 2.1 percent, which is well above the pace of the nation’s 1.5 percent,” Goss said.

Wholesale Prices: The prices-paid index, which tracks the cost of purchased raw materials and supplies, slipped to 70.2 from 71.2 in July, indicating modest but elevated inflationary pressures at the wholesale level. “I expect inflationary pressures at both the consumer and wholesale level to moderate in the months ahead. As a result, I expect the Federal Reserve to delay another rate hike until the end of the fourth quarter of 2017, or first quarter of 2018,” Goss said.

Business Confidence: Looking ahead six months, economic optimism, as captured by the business confidence index, slipped to 65.3 from July’s 70.0.

Inventories: In another show of economic confidence, the inventory index remained above growth neutral for August. The August inventory declined to 52.3 from 54.5 in July.

Trade: The new export orders index fell to 46.9 from 53.8 in July while the import index dropped to 41.9 from July’s 48.1.

Other components: Other components of the August Business Conditions Index were: new orders at 60.5, down from 67.1 in July; production or sales at 62.8, down from July’s 71.7; and delivery lead time at 61.4, up from last month’s 57.4.

For more information, contact Goss at 559.278.2352.

(University Communications news intern Yesenia Candelaria contributed to this report.)

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