By Xavier Fontdegloria
An economic index that measures U.S. business cycles increased in September, although it suggested that economic growth eased compared with the prior month, according to data from the Conference Board released Thursday.
The Leading Economic index rose 0.2% to 117.5 in September compared with August. The 0.2% increase is below expectations from economists polled by The Wall Street Journal, who forecast a 0.4% rise.
In August, the index increased by 0.8% on the month compared with a previously estimated 0.9% rise.
The index suggests that the U.S. economy remains on a more moderate growth trajectory compared with the first half of the year, Conference Board Senior Director of Economic Research Ataman Ozyildirim said.
“The Delta variant, rising inflation fears, and supply-chain disruptions are all creating headwinds for the U.S. economy,” he said.
The Conference Board Leading Economic Index is based on 10 components, among them initial claims for unemployment insurance, manufacturers’ new orders, building permits of new private housing units, stock prices and consumers expectations. It is intended to signal swings in the business cycle and to smooth out some of the volatility of individual indicators.
The strengths among the components remained widespread in the last few months despite the slower growth, Mr. Ozyildirim said.
The Conference Board forecasts U.S. gross domestic product to expand 5.7% in 2021 and 3.8% in 2022.
The Coincident Economic Index was unchanged in September at 105.8, while the Lagging Economic Index increased 0.3% to 106.5, The Conference Board said.
Write to Xavier Fontdegloria at email@example.com