NEW YORK, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- The U.S. index of leading economic indicators rose 0.7 percent in August, climbing to 96.6, the Conference Board said Thursday.
The Leading Economic Index rose for the second consecutive month after falling flat in June, the Conference Board said..
The index is essentially a comparison to economic conditions in 2004, which have been assigned a value of 100.
"The latest reading points to more pep in the pace of economic activity in the near term," said Ken Goldstein, an economist at The Conference Board.
"One unknown is how resilient confidence will remain, both consumer and business, given the mixed signals from the housing and labor markets. Perhaps the bigger question is a satisfactory resolution to federal budget squabbles," he said in a statement.
Conference Board economist Ataman Ozyildirim said economic growth should gradually strengthen in the fourth quarter.
"If the LEI's six-month growth rate, which has nearly doubled, continues in the coming months, economic growth should gradually strengthen through the end of the year," Ozyildirim said.