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Conference Board Indicators Show No Sign of Economic Relapse

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.3 percent in September, following a 0.1 percent increase in August, and a 0.2 percent increase in July. The Coincident Economic Index was unchanged in September, while the Lagging Economic Index increased 0.4 percent.

“The LEI remains on a general upward trend, but it is growing at its slowest pace since the middle of 2009," says Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at The Conference Board. "There isn’t any indication of a relapse into another downturn through the end of the year.”

The Conference Board LEI now stands at 110.4 (2004=100). Initial unemployment claims and the financial components contributed positively to the index this month, more than offsetting the negative contributions from supplier deliveries and building permits.

The six-month change in the index has continued to slow to 0.8 percent (about a 1.7 percent annual rate) for the period through September 2010, down sharply from 5.1 percent (about a 10.4 percent annual rate) for the previous six months. In addition, the weaknesses among the leading indicators have been slightly more widespread than the strengths over the past six months.

The Conference Board CEI for the U.S., a measure of current economic activity, .now stands at 110.4 (2004=100). During the six-month period through September, the coincident economic index increased 0.9 percent, with all four components advancing.

In September, the lagging economic index continued to increase, and with the CEI remaining unchanged, the coincident-to-lagging ratio decreased further. The lagging index for the U.S. stands at 108.4 (2004=100).

Meanwhile, real GDP grew at 1.7 percent annual rate in the second quarter of 2010, following an increase of 3.7 percent annual rate in the first quarter.

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