The Leading Economic Index increased 0.4%, reaching a record high of 128.8 points, according to BVR's Economic Outlook Update (August 2017 issue). There were large positive contributions from building permits, the yield spread, and consumer expectations for business conditions. However, these were more than offset by the large negative contribution from initial claims for unemployment insurance. These results are consistent with the expectations for continued growth in the U.S. economy in the second half of the year.
- The RSM Middle Market Business Index declined 6.4 points in the third quarter, to a reading of 125.7;
- Existing-home sales declined 1.7% in August, marking three consecutive months of declines;
- The Consumer Confidence Index improved, reaching its second highest reading in 16 years, at 122.9 points;
- The Small Business Optimism Index increased 0.1 point, reaching a near record high at 105.3; and
- Industrial production declined 0.9% in August, ending a six-month streak of increases.
In terms of the employment picture, 156,000 jobs were added in August; however, figures for jobs added in June and July were revised downward.
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