Measure of US economy’s health declines in March


A measure of the U.S. economy’s future health declined slightly in March, signaling that growth could slow this spring.

The Conference Board says its index of leading indicators dipped 0.1 percent last month to 94.7. That’s the first decline after three months of gains. The gauge is designed to anticipate economic conditions three to six months out.

Declines in consumer confidence, housing permits and new orders for manufactured goods pushed down the index.

Higher stock prices and a larger spread between long-term and short-term interest rates offset the decline.

The index is derived from data that for the most part have already been reported individually.

“Data for March reflect an economy that has lost some steam,” said Ken Goldstein, an economist at the Conference Board.

Across-the-board government spending cuts that kicked in March 1 are likely weighing on growth, Goldstein said. Economists forecast the cuts will shave a half-percentage point from growth this year.

The private sector is also struggling, Goldstein added. “The biggest challenge remains weak demand, due to nervous consumer sentiment and slow income growth,” he said.

But overall, “the leading indicator still points to a continuing but slow growth environment,” Ataman Ozyildirim, also an economist at the Conference Board, said. The board is a research group with a mostly business membership.

The Leading Indicator index has increase 1.6 percent in the past six months, much faster than the 0.1 percent gain in the previous six months.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Xenia Twp. trustees approve Kil-Kare rezoning request 
Xenia Twp. trustees approve Kil-Kare rezoning request 

UPDATE @ 9:26 p.m.:  Xenia Twp. trustees have voted to allow a rezoning request for land near Kil-Kare Speedway and Drag Strip. The vote was 2-1.  Trustee Susan Spradin was the dissenting vote.  David Reed, Dayton attorney for Nutter Enterprises, which opposed the zoning change, said he and his client are determining their next steps...
New store opens at The Greene in Beavercreek
New store opens at The Greene in Beavercreek

A new puzzle shop has opened at The Greene Town Center in Beavercreek. Puzzle Plus, a family-owned puzzle store, sells jigsaws, brain teasers, puzzle books and games. The store carries games and puzzles for all ages and skill levels. The puzzle store opened in 1995 in Beavercreek, but just moved to a new location at The Greene at 4465 Glengarry Drive...
Sweepstakes scam drains older couple’s life savings
Sweepstakes scam drains older couple’s life savings

An older couple from West Liberty is out tens of thousands of dollars after falling prey to a telephone sweepstakes scam.  The Logan County husband and wife, who wish to remain anonymous, paid a total of $48,000 to a company that goes by the name Consumer Protection Bureau, which offered in return a cash prize of $600,000, according to a release...
Target discontinues popular brands, but sees increase in sales
Target discontinues popular brands, but sees increase in sales

Target Corp. has announced several changes including store redesigns and discontinuing some of its popular clothing brands, and the changes seem to be working in the retailer’s favor. The chain store increased its comparable sales and traffic growth, according to its second quarter earnings report. Second quarter comparable sales increased about...
3 reasons Facebook chose to build its $750M data center in Ohio
3 reasons Facebook chose to build its $750M data center in Ohio

Facebook plans to develop a $750 million data center in New Albany near Columbus, the social media giant announced on Tuesday. Ohio Gov. John Kasich and the social media company announced Facebook will build its 10th data center in New Albany, which is just northeast of Columbus. Kasich said the announcement is “further proof that Ohio is earning...
More Stories