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Benchmark Revisions - May 2006

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Released: Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for France decreased 0.1 percent, while the coincident index increased 0.2 percent in September.

  • The leading index fell slightly in September, following three consecutive increases. Despite this month’s small decline, the leading index has continued to increase at about a 1.0 percent annual rate in recent months. The strengths and weaknesses among the leading indicators have been somewhat balanced in recent months.
  • The coincident index increased again in September, and has been on a flat to slightly rising trend in recent months. At the same time, real GDP growth picked up to a 2.8 percent annual rate in the third quarter of 2005, up from the 1.0 percent average rate in the first half of 2005.
  • After starting to weaken in late 2004, the leading index improved slightly in the past three to six months, but its recent growth is still well below its peak growth rate of about 5.0 percent in the second quarter of 2004. The behavior of the leading index in recent months suggests that economic growth will continue to be moderate in the near term.

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

With the decrease of 0.1 percent in September, the leading index now stands at 106.2 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.1 percent in August and increased 0.5 percent in July. During the six-month span through September, the leading index increased 0.4 percent, and five of the ten components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 55.0 percent).

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

With the 0.2 percent increase in September the coincident index now stands at 117.0 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.3 percent in August and declined 0.1 percent in July. During the six-month period through September, 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 November 15, 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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