The Minnesota Index advanced 0.2 percent in March for the third straight month. The index, estimated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, combines four state-level indicators to summarize current economic conditions into a single statistic. The components of the index are nonfarm wage and salary employment, average weekly manufacturing hours, the unemployment rate, and wage and salary disbursements adjusted for inflation. The index is designed to be a monthly proxy for the state’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Minnesota’s monthly change has averaged 0.3 percent since 2010, so the 0.2 percent increases since the start of the year suggests that Minnesota’s economy has gotten off to a slow start in 2016. The U.S. Index is telling a similar story with the national index having increased 0.2 percent during the last two months. Minnesota’s index is up only 2.3 percent from a year ago while the U.S. Index increased 3.1 percent over the same period.