Conference Board surveys point toward economic recovery

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Several recent surveys by The Conference Board show that the U.S. is on a steady, albeit slow, road to economic recovery.

The Nov. 30 Consumer Confidence Survey released by The Conference Board showed continued improvement from October. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 54.1, up from 49.9 at the end of October.

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“Consumer confidence is now at its highest level in five months, a welcome sign as we enter the holiday season,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “Consumers’ assessment of the current state of the economy and job market, while only slightly better than last month, suggests the economy is still expanding, albeit slowly.”

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The Conference Board’s Employment Trends Index increased for November. The index now stands at 99, up from October’s 97.6 – and is up 9.3 percent from one year ago.

“The disappointing employment numbers (released by federal officials) are at odds with most of the leading indicators included in the Employment Trends Index,” said Gad Levanon, associate director of macroeconomic research at The Conference Board. “While we are not expecting economic activity or employment to grow rapidly anytime soon, we do expect employment to continue to moderately increase, following the trend of recent months.”

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The Conference Board Leading Economic Index also increased 1.1 percent in November to 112.4, following a .4 percent increase in October and a .6 percent increase in September. The leading economic index is a collection of economic indicators that are designed to summarize and reveal patterns in economic data.

“November’s sharp increase in the LEI, the fifth consecutive gain, is an early sign that the expansion is gaining momentum and spreading,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, an economist at The Conference Board. “Nearly all components rose in November. Continuing strength in financial indicators is now joined by gains in manufacturing and consumer expectations, but housing remains weak.”

“The U.S. economy is showing some sparks of life in late 2010. Overall, the indicators point to a mild pickup after a slow winter. Looking further out, possible clouds on the medium term horizon include weaknesses in housing and employment,” said Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board.


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