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The Conference Board Leading Economic Index Rises for Fourth Month
August 20, 2009
The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the U.S. rose
0.6% in July, its fourth consecutive monthly increase. The six-month change in the index has risen to 3.0% (a 6.2% annual
rate) in the period through July, up substantially from -2.8% (a -5.4% annual rate) for the previous six months, and the strengths
among the leading indicators have grown more widespread in recent months. The Conference Board LEI for the U.S. now stands
at 101.6 (2004=100).
The Coincident Economic Index was unchanged in July, after decreasing for the past consecutive eight months. Between
January and July 2009, the index fell 2.7% (a -5.4% annual rate), slower than the decline of 3.5% (a -6.8% annual rate) for
the previous six months. The Conference Board CEI for the U.S. now stands at 99.7 (2004=100).
In July, the lagging economic index
for the U.S. fell 0.3%. With the coincident economic index remaining unchanged, the coincident-to-lagging ratio increased
further. The Conference Board LAG for the U.S. stands at 110.8 (2004=100). Meanwhile, real GDP fell at a 1.0% annual rate
in the second quarter, following a contraction of 6.4% annual rate for the first quarter of the year.
The behavior of the composite indexes
suggests that the recession is bottoming out and that economic activity will likely begin to recover soon.