19 May 2011 17:03 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The closely watched index of leading economic indicators fell in April, the Conference Board said on Thursday, marking the first downturn in that key measure since the middle of last year.
The Conference Board, a 94-year-old business analysis group in ?xml:namespace>
The index now stands at 114, compared with the measure’s 100 baseline figure set in 2004.
April’s downturn was the first decline in the index since June of last year.
The board attributed last month’s fall to downturns in several of the index’s subsidiary business measures, including higher claims for unemployment compensation, lower supplier deliveries, declining building permits, and fewer orders for manufactured capital goods and consumer products.
On the up side, consumer expectations remained strong in April, the board said, and continuing low interest rates and solid stock market gains were positive contributors to the index.
Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein said the modest dip in the April LEI should not be a matter of great concern, noting that the index has been gaining steadily and was up sharply in four of the five months through March.
“The economy has been growing moderately and delivering some new jobs,” Goldstein noted.
“Economic growth will likely continue through the summer and fall, but the pace of economic activity may be choppy,” he said.
Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy
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