Flat 'growth' is the forecast for Philly economy

Look out six to nine months and what does Select Greater Philadelphia see?

Continued sluggish growth in the regional economy, according to the latest release of the Greater Philadelphia Leading Index.

The index value was 97.3 in August, down from 97.4 during May, June and July. I guess flat is the new up.

In a statement, Select Greater Philadelphia's vice president of research, Phil Hopkins, said the flat trend "suggests that any acceleration in the rate of recovery in the region will not occur for at least another six to nine months."

Leading indicators, such as building permits and new orders for manufacturers, tend to change before activity in the economy at large does. The local index, produced by IHS Global Insight for Select Greater Philadelphia, which actively markets the region to businesses looking to relocate, was started just as the financial crisis erupted in September 2008. As such, growth has been elusive.

Economics forecaster IHS Global Insight said that employment in the Philadelphia region will not return to its pre-recession peak until the middle of 2013.

Here's a link to both the leading and coincident indexes on the Select Greater Philadelphia website. As of Monday before noon, the links had not been updated with the most recent data.