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8/24/2003

Conference Board indicates economic upswing in future

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — The economic recovery, until now sluggish, is poised to gather speed and strength in coming months, according to a closely watched gauge of the nation’s business climate.

The Conference Board reported Thursday that its Index of Leading Economic Indicators rose 0.4 percent in July to 112.5, in line with analysts’ expectations. The rise in July’s reading followed a revised 0.3 percent increase in June.

The report coincided with the government’s release of figures showing that first-time claims for unemployment insurance declined last week. The reports provide further evidence of an economy that is gaining traction, analysts said, foreshadowing a more robust rebound in business activity this fall, albeit one that will do little to ease unemployment in the near term.