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Benchmark Revisions - July 2007

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Released: Wednesday, April 12, 2006

  • The leading index increased again in February for the third consecutive month, and there were upward revisions to the previous several months as actual data for productivity for the fourth quarter of 2005 became available. With February's gain, the growth rate of the leading index has picked up to about a 1.0 - 2.0 percent annual rate in recent months, up from the zero to negative 2.0 percent rate in the second half of 2005. In addition, the strength in the leading index has become more widespread in recent months.
  • The coincident index increased slightly in February, and it has been on a slightly rising trend since mid-2005. Industrial production, which is on a declining trend since 2004, continued to be the weakest component of the coincident index. At the same time, real GDP grew at a 2.1 percent average annual rate in the second half of 2005, up from a 1.5 percent average rate the first half of the year. The recent behavior in the leading index suggests that the economy is likely to continue growing at a moderate pace in the near term.

LEADING INDICATORS. Seven of the eight components that make up the leading index increased in February. The positive contributors - from the largest positive contributor to the smallest - were volume of expected output, order book volume, stock prices, the fixed interest price index, consumer confidence, operating surplus of corporations, and productivity for the whole economy*. New orders for engineering industries* declined in February.

With the 0.8 percent increase in February, the leading index now stands at 135.4 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.3 percent in January and increased 0.1 percent in December. During the six-month span through February, the leading index increased 1.7 percent, with five of the eight components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 75.0 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS. Three of the four components that make up the coincident index increased in February. The positive contributors - from the largest positive contributor to the smallest - were employment*, real household disposable income*, and retail sales. Industrial production declined in February.

With the increase of 0.1 percent in February, the coincident index now stands at 116.3 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index was unchanged in January and increased 0.2 percent in December. During the six-month period through February, the coincident index increased 0.3 percent, with all four components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 100.0 percent).

DATA AVAILABILITY: The data series used by The Conference Board to compute the two composite indexes reported in the tables in this release are those available "as of" 10 A.M. ET on April 11, 2006. Some series are estimated as noted below.

* Series in the leading index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are new orders in engineering industries, productivity of the whole economy, and operating surplus of corporations. Series in the coincident index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are employment and real household disposable income.

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

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