Business conditions in Utah slipped a bit between February and August, according to a report released Tuesday.

The Goss Institute for Economic Research said Utah's business-conditions index in August was 52.8, down from the institute's most recent figure for Utah, 53.9 in February. August's 52.8 index was a steep drop from the 71.8 in August 2007.

The index ranges from zero to 100, with a figure over 50 indicating an expansionary economy over the course of the next three to six months. It uses the same methodology as the Institute for Supply Management's index, with both based on surveys. The reports for Utah were suspended from March through July as the institute refined its survey group in the state.

"Like the nation, the Utah economy is growing with few new jobs," the institute's chief executive office Ernie Goss, wrote in the report. Goss previously conducted the surveys for Creighton University, and the institute took over the surveys in August.

Components of the overall index for August were new orders at 55.2, production at 55.7, delivery lead time at 43.9, inventories at 58.2 and employment at 51.0.

"Supply managers in the state's durable-goods manufacturing sector reported pullbacks in economic activity for August. Even in the state's large service sector, growth is wilting. The state's unemployment rate has risen by 0.8 percent over the past year. I expect Utah's jobless rate to increase by another 0.5 percent by the end of the year," Goss wrote.

The Mountain State Business Conditions Index — for Utah, Colorado and Wyoming — was 56.4 for August, compared with 77.7 a year earlier.

Colorado's index for August was 57.0, down from 80.7 a year earlier. Wyoming's was 66.1, down from 76.2 in August 2007.


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