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WVU Introduces State Business Index for Monthly Economic Statistics

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The West Virginia University Bureau of Economic Research introduced a monthly index of leading economic factors in the state. The initial Mountain State Business Index forecast predicts that the economy will expand into the fall.

The MSBI combines economic indicators into an index that shows the likely swings of the economy over the next four to six months.

“It is often difficult to process the large and diverse volume of macroeconomic data that is produced regularly today," said BBER Director John Deskins. "This index will serve to consolidate the data that we read in the news into one simple and easy-to-follow statistic that will point to where our state’s economy is likely heading over the next several months."

The index is made up of seven economic factors that are determined to lead expansions or contractions in the West Virginia economy by approximately four to six months. The indicators will make positive, negative, or no contributions to the overall index. This is all determined on a monthly basis, according to a news release from WVU.

“Several of the indicators that compose the Mountain State Business Index have registered solid growth and improvement over the past year,” said Brian Lego, BBER research assistant professor. “The West Virginia Stock Index has increased more than 16 percent, reflecting the general sense of economic optimism seen in capital markets and healthy outlook for many of the state’s largest publicly-traded employers. Despite the slight recorded drop in production during April, strong well productivity from wells in the Marcellus Shale play has pushed natural gas output sharply higher in many parts of the state over the past year, providing a boost to jobs and overall economic output.”

Technical documentation related to the Mountain State Business Index is available from the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research for free download in PDF format at be.wvu.edu/bber. Visit be.wvu.edu/bber/publications.aspx to view the report and other publications by the BBER.