The U.S. leading index, a key barometer of future economic conditions, edged up 0.1 percent in September, The Conference Board announced today.

The leading index now stands at 137.7. Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.2 percent in August and 0.3 percent in July.

Five of the 10 indicators that make up the leading index increased in September: consumer expectations, money supply, stock prices, jobless claims, and manufacturers’ new orders for nondefense capital goods.

Weakening building permits and factory working hours made the largest negative contributions to the leading index last month, according to The Conference Board.

From March to September, the leading index fell by 0.9 percent (a -1.7 percent annual rate), and has declined in five of the last eight months. The leading index has fallen 1 percent below its most recent high reached in January. At the same time, real GDP growth slowed to a 2.6 percent (annual) rate in the second quarter, following a 5.6 percent gain in the first quarter. The behavior of the leading index so far suggests that economic growth should continue at the slow rate in the near term.

The Conference Board is a nonprofit research and business group.

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