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Benchmark Revisions - May 2006

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Released: Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for France declined 0.4 percent, while the coincident index increased 0.2 percent in November.

  • The leading index declined in November, the fourth consecutive decline. There were also small downward revisions to the previous several months, as actual data for the inventory change and ratio deflator of manufacturing value added to unit labor cost components for the third quarter of 2005 became available. With November’s decline, the growth rate of the leading index has slowed to about a -0.5 to -1.0 percent annual rate in recent months, down from the 5.0 percent rate reached in the second quarter of 2004. In addition, the weakness among the leading indicators has become somewhat more widespread in recent months.
  • November’s increase in the coincident index keeps it on a flat to slightly rising trend. 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. The weakness in the leading index in recent months suggests that the economy will continue to grow more moderately in the near term.

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

With the decline of 0.4 percent in November, the leading index now stands at 105.1 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index declined 0.1 percent in both October and September. During the six-month span through November, the leading index decreased 0.5 percent, and five of the ten components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50.0 percent).

Coincident Indicators.Three of the four components of the coincident index increased in November. The positive contributors to the index were industrial production, real imports*, and paid employment*. Retail sales declined in November.

With the 0.2 percent increase in November, the coincident index now stands at 116.9 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index declined 0.2 percent in October and increased 0.2 percent in September. During the six-month period through November, the coincident index increased 0.4 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 January 13, 2006. 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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