The U.S. economy is vulnerable to sliding back into a recession, the Conference Board said on Thursday as it reported that its index of leading economic indicators rose 0.3% in August.
The index — a composite gauge of ten indicators including weekly jobless claims, stock prices and the money supply — rose further after registering a 0.1% increase in July. August’s improvement was stronger than the 0.2% increase that economists polled by MarketWatch expected.
Nonetheless, the index has slowed to 2% in the six months to August, down from 4.8% in the preceding six months.
The biggest positive contribution to the New York-based Conference Board’s leading economic index in August came from the interest-rate spread between 10-year Treasury notes and the federal funds rate, while the biggest drag came from the weekly rise in average initial filings for jobless benefits.
That neatly encapsulates the current economic environment, which sports record-low borrowing rates but also a languishing jobs market.
Source: Conference Board