Erie Vital Signs

Index offers positive outlook for Erie economy

As if the arrival of spring wasn't enough good news.

A report released today by the Economic Research Institute of Erie at Penn State Behrend's Black School of Business shows more reason to be optimistic about the state of the local economy.

Out today is the latest edition of the Erie Leading Index, a series of eight leading indicators that have been shown to predict turns in the Erie economy.

This quarterly edition of what the institute calls Eli shows no turns in sight, just continued growth.

"Eli continues to skyrocket itself to higher and higher values, with no apparent end in sight," wrote Ken Louie, a Behrend economics professor and director of the institute. "From December 2013 to December 2014, Eli increased 2 percent, with 63 percent of that increase being in the last six months alone. The spring in Eli's step is continuing to signal job growth in the local economy."

The most recent quarterly report of the leading index showed improvements in six of the eight components.

Louie also wrote in his most recent report that the employment situation in Erie has improved substantially over the past year, with the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate falling from 6.9 percent to 4.8 percent between December 2013 and December 2014.

This most recent quarterly report continues an upward trend that began in 2010.

"It thus appears there is reason to be cautiously optimistic about Erie employment growth." he said.

JIM MARTIN can be reached at 870-1668 or by e-mail. Follow him on Twitter at

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