Industry News

Economic indicator drops sharply in November

Stocks, jobless claims impact U.S. leading index

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The U.S. leading index, which is intended to gauge future economic activity, dove 0.4 percent in November following a 0.5 percent drop in October, the Conference Board reported today. The index score of 136.3 in November was the lowest since mid-2005. This index has fallen in four of the past six months, and seven of the 10 indicators that make up the index fell in November. Large declines in stock prices, initial claims for unemployment insurance, the index of consumer expectations, and real money supply pulled down the index in November, and the only positive results were for vendor performance, average weekly manufacturing hours, and manufacturers' new orders for nondefense capital goods. The index rose 0.1 percent in September following a 0.9 percent drop in August. During the six-month span through November, the leading index fell 1.2 percent, with half of the index components showing decline. A coincident index, which indicates the current state of the economy, rose 0...