After five straight months of growth, an Indiana University economic indicator stalled in March, but one analyst says it’s not time to worry yet.
The Leading Index for Indiana is a tool developed by the Indiana Business Research Center used to predict changes in the Hoosier economy’s direction. The Index had grown since October of last year before leveling off this month.
Research Center director Timothy Slaper says the spike in gas prices is partly to blame.
“Higher oil prices, higher gasoline prices, that drains spending power out of consumers’ pocketbooks and can have a dampening effect on economic activity,” he says.
Slaper says the index could just be coming back down to earth after strong growth in January and February. He says the real test will be next month’s level.
“It may be giving us a signal – a potential signal, I should say – that the coming summer may be a little bit flatter than we would have expected,” he says.
Slaper adds that a pause in economic growth would hinder job growth as the state continues to recover from the recession.