Tennessee’s April Economic Index Drops Slightly

Knoxville — Tennessee’s index of leading economic indicators dropped 0.4 percent in April, marking the index’s second decline in as many months.

The index, prepared by the University of Tennessee’s Center for Business and Economic Research, reported poor performances in taxable sales and average weekly manufacturing hours.

Dr. Matt Murray, the UT economist who directed the report, said Tennessee’s economy might experience a downturn this winter.

“The discouraging thing is that we now have two consecutive economic dips, in March and April,” Murray said. “Generally, three consecutive months of slippage in the index points to a contracting economy six to nine months in the future.”

Of the five major metropolitan areas in the state, only Chattanooga saw economic growth in April.

But Murray said an overall economic downturn this winter is not guaranteed.

“The index tells me that there is little capacity for the economy to show further acceleration,” Murray said, “because of very tight labor markets and the high level of economic activity across the state.”