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Leading Economic Index Improves For Fourth Consecutive Month

Written by Jenna Weiner
Published: 8/21/2009

The Conference Board leading economic index rose for the fourth consecutive month, indicating that the economy may be starting to recover.

The latest good news for small businesses arrived this week in the form of the Conference Board's leading economic index (LEI), which increased for the fourth consecutive month.

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The Conference Board reported that the LEI rose 0.6 percent in July, making the six-month index change rise to 3 percent. This is a significant improvement over the 2.8 percent decline seen in the previous six months.

The LEI was bolstered by large gains in interest rate spread, initial unemployment claims and the average workweek, offsetting declines in consumer expectations, real money supply, and building permits.

The Conference Board coincidence economic index remained unchanged in July after four months of declines, while the lagging economic index declined 0.3 percent in July, following a 0.7 percent decline in June and a 0.6 percent decline in May.

"The behavior of the composite indexes suggests that the recession is bottoming out and that economic activity will likely begin to recover soon," said Ken Goldstein, economist at the Conference Board.

Also this week, the Labor Department reported that unemployment insurance claims for the week ending August 15 rose by 15,000 to reach 576,000.

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