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Gauge of US economy posts solid 0.8 percent gain in September, signaling further growth

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WASHINGTON — A gauge designed to predict the economy's future health posted a solid increase in September after no gain in the previous month.

The Conference Board said Thursday that its index of leading indicators rose 0.8 percent last month following a flat reading in August which originally had been reported as a small 0.2 percent gain. It was the best showing since a 1.1 percent advance in July.

Economists expect that continuing strong gains in employment should boost incomes and help support solid economic growth in the United States in coming quarters despite a weaker outlook overseas.

PHOTO: FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2014 file photo, Perry Loyola sorts apples before they are pressed for juice and used for cider at Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook, N.Y.  The Conference Board on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014 said that its index of leading indicators rose 0.8 percent in September following a flat reading in August which originally had been reported as a small 0.2 percent gain. It was the best showing since a 1.1 percent advance in July. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2014 file photo, Perry Loyola sorts apples before they are pressed for juice and used for cider at Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook, N.Y. The Conference Board on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014 said that its index of leading indicators rose 0.8 percent in September following a flat reading in August which originally had been reported as a small 0.2 percent gain. It was the best showing since a 1.1 percent advance in July. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)

"The financial markets are reflecting turmoil and unease, but the data on the leading indicators continue to suggest moderate growth in the short-term," said Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein.

He said weak advances in the housing market remained a bigger risk to the economy's performance than the recent financial market gyrations.

The economy grew at a 4.6 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, a solid rebound after a sharp contraction caused by a harsh winter in the first three months of the year. Economists say the economy grew at a healthy pace of around 3 percent in the just-completed July-September quarter and will post a similar growth rate in the final three months of this year.

The leading index is composed of 10 forward-pointing indicators. Nine of the 10 indicators showed strength in September with the biggest positive contribution coming from a favorable spread of low interest rates. The only negative was average consumer expectations for business conditions.

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