The U.S. leading index, a key barometer of economic conditions, increased 0.1 percent in June, the Conference Board reported today, and now stands at 138.1.

June’s increase comes on the heels of two consecutive declines. Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.6 percent in May and decreased 0.1 percent in April.

The largest positive contributors to the leading index last month were average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance (inverted) and the index of consumer expectations.

The largest negative contributors to the leading index were vendor performance and building permits. From December to June, the leading index fell by 0.3 percent (a -0.6 percent annual rate). Declining housing permits continued to be the largest negative contributor over this period.

The leading index has fallen below its most recent high reached in January, and the strengths among the leading indicators have gradually become less widespread in recent months. The current behavior of the leading index suggests that economic growth should continue, but at a slow to moderate rate in the near term.

The Conference Board is a nonprofit research and business group.

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