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Conference Board Indicators Point to Slower Growth through Fall

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. declined 0.2 percent in June to 109.8, following a 0.5 percent increase in May, and a 0.1 percent decline in April. The Coincident Economic Index (CEI remained unchanged, while the Lagging Economic Index increased 0.1 percent.

"The indicators point to slower growth through the fall," says Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board. "Two trends will have a direct impact on the pace of economic expansion. First, improvement in the industrial core of the economy will moderate as inventory rebuilding slows. Second, improvement in the service sector has been relatively slow, with little indication that it will pick up momentum."

The Conference Board LEI now stands at 109.8 (2004=100). With June's decline, the six-month changed in the leading economic index has slowed to 2.6 percent (a 5.3 percent annual rate) for the first half of the year, down from 5.6 percent (an 11.6 percent annual rate) for the second half of 2009.

"The LEI decreased in two of the last three months, but its level is still about 4.5 percent above its previous peak before the recession began," says Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at The Conference Board. "Moreover, the gains among the LEI components have been widespread, with the exception of housing permits and stock prices, pointing to an expanding economy, but at a slower pace in the second half of the year."

The Conference Board CEI stands at 101.4 (2004=100). Employment was the only indicator to make a negative contribution to the CEI in June. The six-month change in the CEI stands at 1.4 percent through June 2010, up from 0.7 percent in the second half of 2009.

In June, the lagging economic index increased slightly, and with the CEI unchanged, the coincident-to-lagging ratio decreased. Meanwhile, real GDP expanded at a 2.7 percent annual rate in the first quarter of 2010, following an increase of 5.6 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of last year.

The Conference Board LAG for the U.S. now stands at 107.6 (2004=100).

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