Index of US economic health picks up for 5th month

WASHINGTON, Dec 17 (BestGrowthStock) – The U.S. economy is
gathering steam as the year draws to a close, according to a
private industry group’s index of economic indicators.

The Conference Board’s measure of what it calls “leading”
indicators jumped 1.1 percent in November, the biggest rise
since March and the fifth straight monthly gain.

The increase matched forecasts in a Reuters poll. The
index’s level was now at a new record high of 112.4, the
research group said.

“The U.S. economy is showing some sparks of life in late
2010,” said Ken Goldstein, an economist at the firm. “The
indicators point to a mild pickup after a slow winter. Looking
further out, possible clouds on the medium term horizon include
weakness in housing and employment.”

U.S. gross domestic product grew 2.5 percent in the third
quarter, but that was not enough to bring down the jobless
rate, which rose to 9.8 percent in November.

(Reporting by Pedro Nicolaci da Costa, Editing by Chizu

Index of US economic health picks up for 5th month