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Benchmark Revisions - May 2006

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Released: Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for France increased 0.1 percent, and the coincident index increased 0.3 percent in August.

  • The leading index increased slightly in August after a sharp gain in July. With this month’s small gain, the leading index has continued to increase at about a 1.0 percent rate in recent months, but this is still well below the peak rate of about 5.0 percent in the second quarter of 2004. In addition, the strengths and weaknesses among the leading indicators have been somewhat balanced in recent months.
  • The coincident index also increased in August, and this month’s gain keeps it on a flat to slightly rising trend in recent months. At the same time, real GDP growth slowed to a 0.5 percent annual rate in the second quarter of 2005, down from the 1.5 to 2.0 percent average growth since the end of 2003. The behavior of the leading index in recent months is consistent with the economy expanding moderately in the near term.

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

With the increase of 0.1 percent in August, the leading index now stands at 106.3 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.5 percent in July and increased 0.2 percent in June. During the six-month span through August, the leading index increased 0.5 percent, and five of the ten components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 55.0 percent).

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

With the 0.3 percent increase in August, the coincident index now stands at 116.8 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index was unchanged in July and increased 0.1 percent in June. During the six-month period through August, the coincident index increased 0.2 percent, with two of the four series making a positive contribution (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 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 October 14, 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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