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Benchmark Revisions - July 2007

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Released: Monday, May 14, 2007

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for the U.K increased 0.6 percent, and the coincident index increased 0.1 percent in March.

  • The leading index increased sharply again in March and the largest contributor to this gain was Order Book Volume, followed by the Volume of Expected Output. The growth of the leading index picked up slightly to 2.0 percent from September to March (a 4.1 percent annual rate), but this is still below the 5.0 to 5.5 percent annual growth rate reached in mid-2006. The strengths among the leading indicators continue to be more widespread than the weaknesses in recent months.
  • The coincident index increased slightly in March and it has been essentially flat since October. All four components of the coincident index contributed to the gain in March; however, the weaknesses among the coincident indicators have gradually become more widespread since October. At the same time, real GDP grew at a 2.6 percent annual rate in the first quarter, following the same growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2006, down from a 3.4 growth rate in the first quarter of 2006. The current behavior of the leading and coincident indexes suggests moderate economic growth should continue in the near term.

LEADING INDICATORS. Five of the eight components that make up the leading index increased in March. The positive contributors — from the largest positive contributor to the smallest — were order book volume, volume of expected output, productivity for the whole economy*, consumer confidence, and operating surplus of corporations.

With the 0.6 percent increase in March, the leading index now stands at 141.3 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.8 percent in February and increased 0.3 percent in January. During the six-month span through March, the leading index increased 2.0 percent, with six of the eight components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 62.5 percent).

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

With the increase of 0.1 percent in March, the coincident index now stands at 117.0 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in February and decreased 0.2 percent in January. During the six-month period through March, the coincident index increased 0.1 percent, with two of the four components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 37.5 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 May 11, 2007. 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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