Shopping in July
By Jason Lange

A gauge of future U.S. economic activity improved in July on a drop in new claims for jobless benefits and an increase in housing permits, although the reading still pointed to sluggish growth ahead.

The Conference Board said on Friday its Leading Economic Index climbed 0.4 percent to 95.8, reversing a 0.4 percent decline in June.

Analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast the index would rise 0.2 percent in July.

Fewer jobless claims last month was the biggest driver in the increase of the index, the Conference Board said. Also, building permits jumped during the month, which could point to more construction down the road.

Strong retail sales during July has boosted the view that economic growth will pick up in the second half of the year but remain lackluster. Growth and hiring were disappointing in the spring, boosting expectations the Federal Reserve could unleash more economic stimulus.

"The indicators point to slow growth through the end of 2012," said Ken Goldstein, an economist at the Conference Board.

"However, back-to-school sales are better than expected, suggesting that the consumer is starting to come back," he said.

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53 Comments

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granaryst

People are looking forward to getting rid of Obama the corrupt.

August 22 2012 at 7:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jdykbpl45

Are we better off now than in January 2009? Gas was $1.89 then and $3.71 now. Blame Obama. Hope and change? Brother can you spare a dime?

August 22 2012 at 5:53 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
MONTOOTH

In my area, Palm Springs, one sign of a pick-up, has been the truly strong real estate sales of existing homes. I see high-end and middle-range homes selling rather steadily and as a result, values rising. I recently had my home appraised for refi, and was pleasantly surprised at the increased value. And I'm not alone, our entire neighborhood has seen very steady sales since the end of last year and throughout this year. Also, I'm seeing residential construction projects back online again, which means jobs. Some are still struggling--I've talked to folks in various service sector jobs, who previously were in other pre-recession careers/jobs and some are still adjusting. It is going to take time, it is a long process and my hope and prayer is that Congress will get its act together and address real budget, tax and entitlement program reforms. We really need to address the fundamentals of our economy.

August 20 2012 at 12:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chris1011

Lots of loser talk here again from the same people - older white guys who are pining for a lost age when things were hunky dory for them and blacks knew their place. Sorry but things have changed - a lot. If our local Japanese restaurant is any indication, then yes indeed things are different. The number of Mercedes and BMWs parked in the lot and the young overall age of the clientele shows where things are heading.

This isn't the century for old stagnant white guys who cannot adapt. learn new skills or go into retirement quietly. Younger people are in charge, and a lot of them are professional women. And they don't put up with grumbling old regressives like lots of you losers here on this newsgroup.

August 20 2012 at 12:36 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Frank

I don't know, when I drive around town (Cearwater, Fl) or drive up to NJ, I don't see the improvement they keep talking about. I do see lots of FOR SALE signs on both residential and commercial properties. Locally, a good number of businesses have closed and the job situation remains dismal. The job fairs have overflow crowds, companies continue to offer meager wages for the jobs that do become available and many people I've spoken with are running out of their safety/retirement savings as they have been trying to survive for the past few years any way they could. My fear is if things don't turn around soon in a meaningful way we might be in for another dramatic downturn.

August 20 2012 at 10:12 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Frank's comment
Frank

Thats clearwater.

August 20 2012 at 10:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chris1011

LOSER!

August 20 2012 at 12:36 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
marine1942

The economy sucks ; so does this propoganda.

August 20 2012 at 9:22 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
opus1dog

Conservatives don't believe this news because it did not originate from Fox. The Contard Network could say that we are in the middle of the Great Depression and the stock market will be gone as of tomorrow, and they'd believe it.

August 19 2012 at 8:35 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
jhrooney

Down 0.4 last month, up 0.4 this month. Looks like a wash to me. The author doesn't want to mention jobless rate. When is the media going to start holding Obama's feet to fire for his job performance as president. The media must be afraid he will pull the race card on them That would be embarrassing.

August 19 2012 at 7:21 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
quickdraw0222

You should be happy with this economy,compared to Bushes.

August 19 2012 at 11:46 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
zzyxx

this is what i love about a democratic presidency.....no matter the situation of our country ...things are always looking up.

August 19 2012 at 10:43 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply