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MELLON BANK: HARRISBURG INDEX INCREASES IN FOURTH QUARTER

 MELLON BANK: HARRISBURG INDEX INCREASES IN FOURTH QUARTER
 PITTSBURGH, March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- The Mellon Index of Economic Performance for Harrisburg, Pa., which gauges the area's overall economic performance, recorded a gain in the closing months of last year, rising 2.1 percent in the final quarter of 1991, the bank said today.
 The increase was led by a combination of stronger housing permits, a modest rise in service-producing employment and a sizable lengthening of the manufacturing workweek.
 On the negative side, there was a continuing slide in the construction of commercial buildings, a drop in goods-producing jobs and weaker car sales.
 Although the index showed an overall increase, the strength occurred in October and gradually dissipated in November and December.
 Compared to a year earlier, the Mellon Index for Harrisburg has fallen by 7.2 percent. This decline has resulted from the plunge in commercial construction and car sales. In fact, of the six index components, only housing permits and service-producing jobs managed to register small gains compared to the last quarter of 1990.
 The sharp drop in interest rates of late 1991 should begin to reinvigorate the Harrisburg-area economy. In view of the anticipated upturn in the national economy in the next few months, it seems likely that the local economy will start to show signs of improvement as well. Home building is expected to accelerate, along with a pickup in consumer spending on big ticket items, including automobiles. Employment also will resume a gradual firming trend in the spring and summer.
 In the fourth quarter, the Mellon Index of Economic Performance for the Harrisburg area stood at 139.8, up from 136.8 in the third quarter.
 MELLON INDEX OF ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE
 Harrisburg, Pa.
 Fourth Quarter
 (1980 equals 100)
 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991
 121.9 129.0 146.6 151.0 150.8 139.8
 -0- 3/11/92
 /CONTACT: Debra DeCourcy of Mellon Bank, 412-234-5873/
 (MEL) CO: Mellon Bank ST: Pennsylvania IN: FIN SU: ECO


DM -- PG001 -- 7204 03/11/92 09:18 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 11, 1992
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