The Iowa Leading Indicators Index rose .2 percent in July, from 106.3 in June to 106.6.
The index, compiled by the Iowa Department of Revenue, primarily looks at indicators in the agricultural, financial and manufacturing sectors, including agricultural futures price index, Iowa stock market index, building permits, yield spreads, unemployment claims, diesel fuel consumption, new orders index and average weekly manufacturing hours.
The most positive contributor to the index was the number of building permits issued in July 2013. The 12-month moving average for building permits increased from 830 in June to 855 in July, which is the highest level since February 2008.
July’s yield spread also contributed to the rise, as long-term rates continue to rise with expectations for continued national economic growth. The 10-year Treasury bond rate reached 2.58 percent, the highest in two years, and the 3-month Treasury bill rate remained at a near historic low of 0.04 percent.
However, the agricultural futures profits pulled the index down in July. Corn and soybean prices fell sharply during the month, at 33.9 percent and 20.3 percent, respectively, compared with July of last year.
Unemployment insurance claims and diesel fuel consumption also hurt the index.
Average weekly unemployment insurance claims in July were below June levels, but 5.7 percent above last July. Diesel fuel consumption dipped 1.9 percent from where it stood last July.
The Iowa Department of Revenue releases the index each month to provide a signal about the direction of the economy by combining the monthly changes in each of the eight components.