Conference Board Shows US Economy Declines

    June 20, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

A drop in the leading index for the month of May follows a period of no change in April for the American economy.

The commonly watched gauge of future business activity dropped slightly for May, and that may hint at even slower growth in the economy. The most recent figures released show a 0.5 percent decrease in the leading index.

Conference Board Shows US Economy Declines

“Energy prices are one factor driving this global trend. Of more concern is the level of confidence of both consumers and chief executives, which has been choppy,” said Ken Goldstein, economist with private research firm Conference Board.

According to the Conference Board, the leading index has declined at a 2.2 percent annual rate over the past six months. That continues a trend that has seen the so-called rebounding economy drop 1.9 percent over the past 12 months. It now stands at 114.1.

Ten indicators comprise the leading index used by Conference Board. One of them, stock prices, was the only positive indicator for May. Among the negative forces were manufacturers’ orders for consumer goods and average weekly manufacturing hours.

The coincident index rose in May, with all four indicators showing increases. Industrial production, personal income less transfer payments, employees on nonagricultural payrolls, and manufacturing and trade sales all went up. That brought the coincident index up by 0.2 percent to 119.7.

The Conference Board is a non-profit research and business membership group that computes the composite indexes from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.