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Released: Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for the U.K declined 0.3 percent, and the coincident index increased 0.2 percent in November.

  • The leading index declined in November, the fourth decrease in the last six months. Productivity was the largest positive contributor to the index, but large negative contributions from stock prices, yield spread, consumer expectations and volume of expected output more than offset the positive contributions. The six-month growth rate of the leading index has declined substantially in recent months, from 2.3 percent (about a 4.6 percent annual rate) between November 2006 and May 2007 down to a -0.5 percent rate (about a -0.9 percent annual rate) from May 2007 through November 2007. In addition, the six-month diffusion index suggests that the weaknesses among the leading indicators have become slightly more widespread than the strengths in recent months.
  • The coincident index continued to increase at a steady pace in November. Three of the four components increased in November and employment continued to make the largest positive contributions to the index in recent months. Its six-month growth rate is currently 0.8 percent (about a 1.7 percent annual rate), a slight increase from the 0.3 percent rate (about a 0.7 percent annual rate) which prevailed between November 2006 and May 2007. Also, the strengths among the coincident indicators have been more widespread than the weaknesses in recent months.
  • After growing at a consistent and steady pace from the third quarter of 2005 through the second quarter of 2007, the leading index has been gradually trending downward since June. At the same time, real GDP growth slowed in the third quarter to a 2.5 percent annual rate of growth, down from a 3.3 percent average annual rate during the first half of 2007. The recent behavior of the composite indexes suggests that economic growth should continue in the near term, though perhaps at a slower pace.

LEADING INDICATORS. Two of the seven components that make up the leading index increased in November. The positive contributors — from the largest positive contributor to the smallest — were productivity for the whole economy*, and operating surplus of corporations*. The negative contributors — from the largest contributor to the smallest — were stock prices, the yield spread, volume of expected output, consumer confidence and order book volume.

With the 0.3 percent decrease in November, the leading index now stands at 128.8 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in October and declined 0.1 percent in September. During the six-month span through November, the leading index decreased 0.5 percent, with two of the seven components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 42.9 percent).

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

With the increase of 0.2 percent in November, the coincident index now stands at 119.4 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in October and increased 0.3 percent in September. During the six-month period through November, the coincident index increased 0.8 percent, with three of the four components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 75.0 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 Monday January 7, 2008. Some series are estimated as noted below.

* Series in the leading index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are 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, industrial production 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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