U.S. leading indicators rise

May 17, 2013 at 12:45 PM

NEW YORK, May 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. index of leading economic indicators rose in April, climbing 0.6 percent to 95, after a 0.2 percent drop in March, the Conference Board said Friday.

The Leading Economic Index rebounded with positive contributions from housing permits and labor market conditions.

The index climbed "although consumers' outlook on the economy remains weak," Conference Board economist Ataman Ozyildirim said.

"The index is 3.5 percent higher, annualized, than six months ago, suggesting expansion," economist Ken Goldstein said.

The biggest current risk, he said, is cuts in government spending.

On the flip side, the brightest factors at the moment are improvements in the housing and labor markets.

The leading index compares current business activity with 2004, the year the Conference Board assigned a level of 100.

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