U.S. Leading Economic Index Advances More Than Expected In August

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The Conference Board released a report on Thursday showing a bigger than expected increase by its index of leading U.S. economic indicators in the month of August.

The report said the leading economic index advanced by 0.9 percent in August after climbing by 0.8 percent in July. Economists had expected the index to rise by 0.6 percent.

The bigger than expected increase by the index reflected positive contributions from eight of the ten indicators, including average weekly initial jobless claims, the ISM New Orders Index and building permits.

"While the Delta variant—alongside rising inflation fears—could create headwinds for labor markets and the consumer spending outlook in the near term, the trend in the LEI is consistent with robust economic growth in the reminder of the year," said Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director of Economic Research at The Conference Board.

He added, "Real GDP growth for 2021 is expected to reach nearly 6.0 percent year-over-year, before easing to a still-robust 4.0 percent for 2022."

The report said the coincident economic index edged up by 0.2 percent in August following a 0.6 percent increase in July.

The lagging economic index also inched up by 0.1 percent in August after rising by 0.5 percent in the previous month.

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