NEW YORK, March 21 (UPI) -- The U.S. index of leading economic indicators rose 0.5 percent in February, climbing for the third consecutive month, the Conference Board said Thursday.
The Leading Economic Index rose to 94.8 following a 0.5 percent gain in January and a 0.4 percent increase in December..
"This month's increase ... was widespread and driven by a majority of its components. Even though consumer expectations and manufacturing new orders remain weak," said Conference Board Economist Ataman Ozyildirim.
"The economy continues to expand slowly, and may be developing some resilience against headwinds," he added.
The leading index compares current business activity with 2004, the year the Conference Board assigned a level of 100.
Conference Board Economist Ken Goldstein said the economy was "growing slowly now," but warned the current index "does not yet capture the recent effects of sequestration, which could dampen the pickup in gross domestic product."