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Benchmark Revisions - May 2006

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Released: Monday, June 19, 2006

The Conference Board reports today that the leading index for France increased 1.1 percent and the coincident index remained unchanged in April.

  • The leading index increased sharply in April, the third consecutive increase. April's gain was driven strongly by new unemployment claims (inverted) and industrial new orders. The growth of the leading index has picked up in recent months and the leading index has increased 3.1 percent from October to April. In addition, the strength in the leading index continued to be more widespread in recent months.
  • The coincident index remained the same in April, but it has been on a slightly rising trend since mid-2003. The strength among the coincident indicators has been widespread in recent months, but gains in personal consumption (manufacturing goods), employment, and wages and salaries were offset by a large drop in industrial production in April. At the same time, real GDP increased at a 2.2 percent average annual rate in the first quarter of 2006, up from the 1.8 percent average rate in the second half of 2005. The recent behavior of the leading index suggests that moderate to stronger economic growth is likely to continue in the near term.

LEADING INDICATORS. Six of the seven components of the leading index increased in April. The positive contributors to the index -in order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest- are the inverted new unemployment claims, industrial new orders, the yield spread, production expectations, the stock price index, and building permits (residential). The ratio of the deflator of manufacturing value added to unit labor cost for manufacturing* declined in April.

With the increase of 1.1 percent in April, the leading index now stands at 128.0 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in March and increased 0.9 percent in February. During the six-month span through April, the leading index increased 3.1 percent, and six of the seven components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 85.7 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS. Three of the four components of the coincident index increased in April. The positive contributors to the index were wage and salaries*, personal consumption, and employment*. Industrial production declined in April.

With no change in April, the coincident index now stands at 119.3 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.2 percent in March and remained unchanged in February. During the six-month period through April, the coincident index increased 0.8 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 June 15, 2006. Some series are estimated as noted below.

NOTES: Series in the leading index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are 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 number of employees and wage and salaries.

With the May 2006 release the FRANCE LEADING ECONOMIC INDICATORS AND RELATED COMPOSITE INDEXES underwent a benchmark revision. For more information on these benchmark revisions please click here.

THESE DATA ARE FOR ANALYSIS PURPOSES ONLY. NOT FOR REDISTRIBUTION, PUBLISHING, DATABASING, OR PUBLIC POSTING WITHOUT EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION.

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