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Benchmark Revisions - May 2006

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Released: Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for France increased 0.1 percent and the coincident index was unchanged in February.

  • The leading index increased slightly in February, and there were upward revisions to the previous several months as the actual profit to labor cost ratio for the fourth quarter of 2004 became available. The net result is that the growth rate of the leading index has slowed to a 1.0 to 2.0 percent annual rate over the last six months, down from 4.0 to 5.0 percent growth in the first half of 2004, and the strength among the components of the leading index has become less widespread.
  • The growth rate of real GDP picked up to 3.5 percent (annual rate) in the fourth quarter, but this just offsets no growth in the third quarter. As a result, real GDP growth slowed to a 1.7 percent rate in the second half of 2004 from 3.2 percent growth over the previous four quarters. The slowdown in the growth rate of the leading index over the last six months suggests that the economy is likely to grow moderately in the near term.

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

With the increase of 0.1 percent in February, the leading index now stands at 105.9 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index was unchanged in January and increased 0.2 percent in December. During the six-month span through February, the leading index increased 0.6 percent, and six of the ten components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 60.0 percent).

Coincident Indicators. Three of the four components of the coincident index increased in February. The positive contributors to the index were retail sales, real imports*, and paid employment*. Industrial production was unchanged in February. (For details, see data availability section and tables.)

Holding steady in February, the coincident index now stands at 116.3 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in January and increased 0.1 percent in December. During the six-month period through February, the coincident index increased 0.5 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 April 12, 2005. 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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