A closely watched gauge of the future health of the U.S. economy rose in August, but at a much slower pace than in the previous month, signaling moderate economic growth through the year-end holiday season, a private-sector research organization reported Friday.
The Conference Board said its index of leading economic indicatorsâ€”designed to predict U.S. economic activity in the coming three to six monthsâ€”rose 0.2 percent to 103.8 in August, the seventh consecutive monthly gain.
However, the increase was much slower than the revised 1.1 percent advance in July and the 0.7 percent increase in June, and missed Wall Street expectations.
Conference Board economists Ken Goldstein said even with the slowdown in August, the index shows the economy still is growing. â€œThe leading indicators point to an economy that is continuing to gain traction, but most likely wonâ€™t repeat its stellar second-quarter performance in the second halfâ€ of the year, he said.
Among the 10 indicators that comprise the Conference Board gauge, three were higher in August.
The coincident index, which measures current economic conditions, rose 0.2 percent to 109.7 last month, while the lagging index, which measures past conditions, increased by 0.3 percent to 125.1.