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U.S. Leading Economic Index Rises Less Than Expected In September

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Suggesting the U.S. economy remains on a more moderate growth trajectory compared to the first half of the year, the Conference Board released a report on Thursday showing a modest increase by its index of leading economic indicators in the month of September.

The Conference Board said its leading economic index edged up by 0.2 percent in September after advancing by 0.8 percent in August and 0.9 percent in July. Economists had expected the index to rise by 0.5 percent.

"The Delta variant, rising inflation fears, and supply chain disruptions are all creating headwinds for the U.S. economy," said Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director of Economic Research at The Conference Board.

"Despite the LEI's slower growth in recent months, the strengths among the components remain widespread," he added. "Indeed, The Conference Board continues to forecast strong growth ahead: 5.7 percent year-over-year for 2021 and 3.8 percent for 2022."

The uptick by the leading economic index reflected positive contributions from six of the ten indicators, including the ISM New Orders Index, the interest rate spread, and average weekly initial jobless claims.

Negative contributions from building permits, average consumer expectations for business conditions, average weekly manufacturing hours, stock prices limited the upside for the index.

The report also showed the coincident economic index was unchanged in September after inching up by 0.1 percent in August.

The lagging economic index rose by 0.3 percent in September following a 0.1 percent uptick in the previous month.

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