Leading indicators up in August

September 19, 2013


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The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the United States increased 0.7% in August to 96.6 following a 0.5% increase in July and no change in June. The base year for the index is 2004.

“After a brief pause, the U.S. LEI rose sharply in July and August, resuming its upward trend,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at The Conference Board. “If the LEI’s six-month growth rate, which has nearly doubled, continues in the coming months, economic growth should gradually strengthen through the end of the year. Despite weakness in residential construction, consumer expectations, and the stock market, improvements in the LEI’s labor market and financial components, as well as new manufacturing orders, drove this month’s gain.”

“The latest reading points to more pep in the pace of economic activity in the near term,” said Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board. “One unknown is how resilient confidence will remain, both consumer and business, given the mixed signals from the housing and labor markets. Perhaps the bigger question is a satisfactory resolution to federal budget squabbles.”

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