The Iowa Leading Indicators Index increased in November to 110.2 from a revised 109.7 in October. November’s 0.4% growth is the same as last month’s. The monthly diffusion index dropped in November to 68.8 from a revised 75 after an increase in October.

The Iowa nonfarm employment coincident index increased 0.18% in November, the eighth month of increase since February 2020. The six-month diffusion index decreased to 50 in November from 62.5 in October, marking the fourth consecutive month of decline.

Five of the index’s eight components increased in November: diesel fuel consumption, average
weekly unemployment claims (inverted), the Iowa Stock Market Index, residential building
permits, and the agricultural futures profit index.

The new orders index, average manufacturing hours, and the national yield spread detracted from the index.

Average weekly unemployment claims contributed positively to the index, with the 12-month moving average decreasing from 4,065 in October to 3,643. Unemployment claims were 66.7% below November 2020 claims and 39.3% below average historical claims for November.

The agricultural futures profit index showed both grain and live cattle commodities expecting profits in November with hog commodities expecting losses. The November crush margin for cattle increased 4.4% from October while the crush margin for hogs decreased 10.7%. The crush margin involves the market value of the animal minus its initial cost and the cost of feeding it. Compared with 2020, new crop corn prices were 37.3% higher while soybean prices were 14.2% higher.

Twenty-two of the 30 companies on the Iowa Stock Market Index gained value, including eight of the 10 financial sector companies. The majority gains drove the stock market index up to 133.7 in November from 129 in October.

Taxable gallons of consumed diesel fuel increased in November, with the 12-month moving average rising to 67.3 million gallons from 66.1 million in October.

Average weekly manufacturing hours decreased slightly, with the 12-month moving average down to 39.6 from a revised 39.7 in October. November’s average hours were 38.9, below the 40.4 hours in November 2020, and nearly three hours below the historical monthly average.

The new orders index 12-month moving average decreased for a third month in a row from 74.4 in October to 72.7 in November.

The yield spread between 10-year Treasury bonds and three-month Treasury bills decreased to 1.51% in November from 1.53% in October.

The full report is available online