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The U.S. leading economic index rose again in August, The Conference Board reported today. The index increased 0.7 percent in August to a reading of 96.6 (2004 = 100), following a 0.5 percent increase in July. Improvements in the index’s labor market and financial components, as well as new manufacturing orders, drove this month’s gain despite weakness in residential construction, consumer expectations and the stock market.
“The latest reading points to more pep in the pace of economic activity in the near term,” said Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board. “One unknown is how resilient confidence will remain, both consumer and business, given the mixed signals from the housing and labor markets. Perhaps the bigger question is a satisfactory resolution to federal budget squabbles.”