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Alan Gin’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators showed continued weakness in the local economy in March, led by a plunge in the number of help wanted ads and a drop in a measure of consumer confidence.

All six categories measured by the index were negative for the month. The last six months have been the six largest drops on record since 1977. (Gin, an economist at the University of San Diego, has data going back to that year but began publishing the index in 1991.)

Here’s Gin:

Both the national and local economies are caught in a vicious cycle where job losses are reducing incomes, which reduces consumption, auto sales, and home sales, which in turn leads to even more job losses. An added complication is the impact on the already stressed financial system as more loans go bad in this scenario.

KELLY BENNETT

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