U.S. Economic Indicators: Leading Index and Philly Fed Index Tumble

The Conference Board announced today that the U.S. leading index decreased 0.2 percent, the coincident index increased 0.1 percent and the lagging index increased 0.3 percent in August. 

From February to August, the leading index fell by 0.6% (a -1.2% annual rate). The leading index has declined in 5 of the last 8 months. Weakening housing permits and consumer expectations made the largest negative contributions to the leading index from February to August, offsetting significant positive contributions from average weekly hours in manufacturing and vendor performance.

Weekly Jobless Claims:

In the week ending Sept. 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 318,000, an increase of 7,000 from the previous week, according to the Labor Dept.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.9 percent for the week ending Sept. 9, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate of 1.9 percent.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Sept. 9 was 2,461,000, a decrease of 29,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 2,490,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,477,250, a decrease of 5,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 2,482,750.

Philadelphia Fed Business Index:

U.S. Mid-Atlantic factory activity retrenched for the first time in over three years in September, the latest sign of a rapidly-slowing economy.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said on Thursday its business activity index tumbled to -0.4 this month from 18.5 in August, far below forecasts of around 14.8. It was the first reading below zero since April 2003, indicating a sharp decline in regional manufacturing. It covers eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware (Reuter).

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