Utah's index of leading economic indicators for January increased 1 percent over December, according to Kelly K. Matthews, economist for First Security Corp.

He said the increase in the local index "suggests that sensitive components of Utah's economy entered 1989 at an accelerated pace of business activity."The January index index was exceeded only once in 1988, and only three of the nine factors in the index were down from the previous month. "The impact of inflation and seasonal variation is removed from the data so the index reflects real economic change," he said.

The report noted that growth momentum in January's index, measured by the annual percentage change in January over January 1988, increased to 3.8 percent, up from 3 percent in December. In the past 12 months, the average monthly growth was 3.7 percent, slightly below the January pace.

Figuring in the index are new automobile loans, the consumer delinquency rate, initial claims for unemployment and valuation of non-residential construction permits. Also used are the number of permits for new dwellings, manufacturing workweek hours, non-agricultural job placements, new automobile sales and new Utah corporations.