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Benchmark Revisions - May 2006

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Released: Monday, July 12, 2004

The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for France decreased 0.1 percent and the coincident index increased 0.1 percent in May.

  • The leading index declined slightly in May, with the consumer confidence index being the major contributor to this month’s weakness. As a result, the growth rate of the leading index has slowed so far this year, but is still in the 2.0 to 3.0 percent range (annual rate), and this growth has continued to be widespread. The coincident index increased slightly in May, keeping it on a flat to slightly rising trend.
  • Real GDP has increased at a 2.8 percent average annual rate over the last two quarters (2.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2003 and 3.1 percent in the first quarter of 2004). The continued widespread growth in the leading index suggests that this rate of economic growth is likely to persist in the near term.

Leading Indicators. Four of the ten components of the leading index increased in May. The positive contributors to the index —in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest— are building permits (residential), industrial new orders, the yield spread, and the ratio of the deflator of manufacturing value added to unit labor cost for manufacturing*. The consumer confidence index (opinion balance), the stock price index, the inverted bond yield, and the inverted new unemployment claims declined in May, while personal consumption of manufacturing goods and change in stocks* remained unchanged. (For details, see data availability section and tables.)

With the 0.1 percent decrease in May, the leading index now stands at 103.5 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in April and increased 0.3 percent in March. During the six-month span through May, the leading index increased 1.0 percent, and seven of the ten components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 75.0 percent).

Coincident Indicators.Two of the four components of the coincident index increased in May. The positive contributors to the index were real imports* and paid employment*. Retail sales and industrial production held steady in May. (For details, see data availability section and tables.)

With the 0.1 percent increase in May, the coincident index now stands at 115.3 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index was unchanged in April and increased 0.1 percent in March. During the six-month period through May, the coincident index increased 0.3 percent, with all four series making a positive contribution (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 July 8, 2004. Some series are estimated as noted below.

NOTES: Series in the leading index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are change in stocks and ratio deflator of manufacturing value added to unit labor cost in manufacturing. Series in the coincident index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are the deflator of real imports and paid employment.

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

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