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Benchmark Revisions - May 2006

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Released: Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for France remained unchanged, while the coincident index increased 0.1 percent in June.

  • The leading index was unchanged in June following three consecutive declines. In addition, the weaknesses among the leading indicators have become somewhat more widespread in recent months. The growth rate of the leading index continued to slow to about a -1.0 to -2.0 percent annual rate, down from a peak growth rate of about 5.0 percent in March 2004.
  • The coincident index, a measure of current economic activity, increased slightly in June, following two consecutive declines, and it has been fluctuating around an essentially flat trend in recent months. At the same time, real GDP growth slowed to a 0.4 percent annual rate in the second quarter of 2005, below the 1.5 to 2.0 percent average growth since the end of 2003. The continued weakness in the leading index in recent months suggests that this sluggish economic growth is likely to continue in the near term.

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

Holding steady in June, the leading index now stands at 104.8 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index declined 0.6 percent in May and declined 0.1 percent in April. During the six-month span through June, the leading index decreased 0.9 percent, and five of the ten components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 percent).

Coincident Indicators.All four components of the coincident index increased in June. The positive contributors to the index were retail sales, real imports*, paid employment*, and industrial production.

With the 0.1 percent increase in June, the coincident index now stands at 116.6 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.1 percent in both May and April. During the six-month period through June, the coincident index increased 0.4 percent, with three of the four series making a positive contribution (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 August 16, 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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