Industry News

Economic weakness more widespread

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The U.S. leading index, a key barometer of economic conditions, declined for the fourth consecutive month in September, The Conference Board reported this week. The leading index now stands at 115.6 (1996=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.1 percent in September and decreased 0.3 percent in August. During the six-month span through September, the leading index decreased 0.2 percent, with three out of ten components advancing. The Conference Board said the weakness in the last four months has become more widespread. However, these declines in the leading index have not been large enough nor have they persisted long enough to signal an end to the current economic expansion. The coincident index, an index of current economic activity, increased again in September and its growth continues to be widespread. Real GDP growth slowed to a 3.3 percent annual rate in the second quarter, but appears to have picked up again in the third quarter. While the leading index is not y...