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The U.S. leading economic index rose again in January, suggesting a slow but continued expansion in economic activity in the near term, The Conference Board reported today. The organization’s U.S. leading economic index rose 0.2 percent in January to a reading of 94.1 (2004 = 100), following a 0.5 percent increase in December, and no change in November.
“The indicators point to an underlying economy that remains relatively sound but sluggish,” said Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board. “Credit use has picked up, driven in part by relatively strong demand for auto loans. The biggest positive factor is housing. The housing market is now at twice the level reached during its recessionary lows, and will likely continue to improve through the spring, delivering some growth momentum to the labor market and the overall economy. The biggest risk, however, is the adverse impact of cuts in federal spending.”