Leading Economic Indicators Up Sharply

New York, NY, Sept. 19, 2013 -- The Conference Board Leading Economic Index  increased 0.7% in August to 96.6, following a 0.5% increase in July, and no change in June.

“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.”

One unknown, said economist Ken Goldstein, is how resilient confidence will remain, both consumer and business, given the mixed signals from the housing and labor markets. Perhaps the bigger question, he noted, are the budget fights in Washington.