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Released: Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.3 percent in January, following a 1.2 percent gain in December, and a 1.1 percent rise in November.

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Says Ataman Ozyildirim, Economist at The Conference Board: "The U.S. LEI has risen steadily for nearly a year, led by an improvement in financial markets and a manufacturing upturn. Consumer expectations and housing permits have also contributed to these gains over this period, but to a lesser extent — especially in recent months. Current economic conditions, as measured by The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI), have also improved modestly since July 2009, helped by strengthening industrial production, despite continued weakness in employment."

Adds Ken Goldstein, Economist at The Conference Board: "The cumulative change in the U.S. LEI over the past six months has been a strong 9.8 percent, annualized. This signals continued economic recovery at least through the spring."

The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for the U.S. rose 0.2 percent in January, following no change in December, and a 0.3 percent increase in November. The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index® (LAG) declined 0.1 percent in January, following a 0.3 percent decline in December, and a 0.7 percent decline in November.

This month's release incorporates benchmark revisions that resulted from revisions in the underlying data for manufacturers' new orders for consumer goods and materials and manufacturers' new orders for non-defense capital goods. As a result, the standardization factors of these two components and the history of the leading economic index were recomputed. The impact of these revisions on the leading economic index is minimal, but the revised index will no longer be directly comparable to those issued prior to the benchmark revision. For further information please contact indicators@conference-board.org.

THESE DATA ARE FOR ANALYSIS PURPOSES ONLY. NOT FOR REDISTRIBUTION, PUBLISHING, DATABASING, OR PUBLIC POSTING WITHOUT EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION.

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