4th quarter slow, index of local economy shows

March 28, 1991

The Baltimore area economy continued to slow in the 1990 fourth quarter, according to a study issued by Grant Thornton, a national accounting and management consulting firm with a local office.

The Grant Thornton Index, consisting of seven equally weighted economic indicators, fell 0.65 points in Baltimore in the last three months of the year, hitting 108.7. This marked the fourth quarterly decline in the index for Baltimore since the end of 1989, when the index was at 110.5.

The drop of 0.65 points was sharper than the drop of 0.23 in the third quarter.

In the Washington area, the index fell 1.10 points in the quarter to 109.2.

Morton D. Goldman, manager partner of Grant Thornton's Baltimore office, attributed the declines in both cities to weakness in factory hours and non-farm payrolls, along with a decline in the nation's money supply.

"In the last quarter of 1990, our data indicates a reduction in the amount of jobs and payroll in the commercial workplace," Goldman said.

Around the country, the fourth-quarter index declined in 22 of the 24 metropolitan areas.

The index includes factory hours, non-farm employment, construction permits, retail sales, business starts, business failures and money supply. The base for the index is January 1985.

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