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Benchmark Revisions - May 2006

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Released: Thursday, March 16, 2006

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

  • The leading index fell slightly in January, but there were upward revisions to the previous several months as actual data for change in stocks for the fourth quarter of 2005 became available. The leading index has been fluctuating around a zero percent annual rate in recent months, well below the high growth rate of 4.0 percent reached 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 increased slightly in January, and it has been on a slightly rising trend since the beginning of 2005. At the same time, real GDP growth slowed to a 0.9 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2005, down from the 2.8 percent rate in the third quarter, but slightly up from the 0.6 percent average rate in the first half of 2005. The recent behavior in the leading index suggests that the economy is likely to continue growing at a slow to moderate pace in the near term.

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

With the decrease of 0.1 percent in January, the leading index now stands at 105.9 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.3 percent in December and declined 0.3 percent in November. During the six-month span through January, the leading index increased 0.1 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 January. The positive contributors to the index were real imports*, retail sales, industrial production, and paid employment*.

With the increase of 0.2 percent in January, the coincident index now stands at 117.1 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index was unchanged in December and increased 0.3 percent in November. During the six-month period through January, 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 March 14, 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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