Consumer confidence up in United States, global economy still dark cloud

NEW YORK — The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the United States increased 0.5% in November to 118 (baseline based on 100 in 2004), following a 0.9% increase in October, and a 0.1% increase in September, the Conference Board announced Thursday.

“November’s increase in the LEI for the U.S. was widespread among the leading indicators and continues to suggest that the risk of an economic downturn in the near term has receded," stated Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at the Conference Board. "Interest rate spread and housing permits made the largest contributions to the LEI this month, overcoming a falling average workweek in manufacturing, which reversed its October gain. The CEI also rose on improving employment and personal income although industrial production fell in November.”

"The LEI is pointing to continued growth this winter, possibly even gaining momentum by spring," added Ken Goldstein, also an economist at the Conference Board. "For the second month in a row, building permits made a relatively strong contribution and there is a chance that the long decline in housing is finally slowing. However, this somewhat positive outlook for the domestic economy is at odds with a global economy that appears to be losing steam. In particular, a deeper-than-expected recession in Europe could easily derail the outlook for the U.S. economy.”

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