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Published: Monday 26 August, 2013

longchamps le pliage tote longchamps le pliage tote Gauge of US economys future health up in April Knoxville News Sentinel

economys future health rose solidly in April, buoyed by a sharp rise in applications to build homes and a better job market.

The Conference Board said Friday that its index of leading indicators increased 0.6 percent last month to a reading of 95. That followed a 0.2 percent decline in March.

Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein said the index is 3.5 percent higher at an annual rate than it was six months ago, suggesting expansion for the economy.

Goldstein said that steady job gains and a recovering housing market are driving the economy and helping offset deep federal spending cuts that threaten growth.

The index is composed of 10 forwardpointing indicators. Strength in April came from the surge in building permits, a drop in applications for unemployment benefits and a rising stock market. factories.

The job market has also improved over the past six months. The economy has added an average of 208,000 jobs a month since November. Thats up from only 138,000 a month in the previous six months.

Unemployment has fallen to a fouryear low of 7.5 percent.

A rebound in housing, along with a limited supply of homes for sale, has lifted the construction industry.

Construction cooled off in April, as builders broke ground on fewer homes after topping the 1 million mark in March for t longchamps le pliage tote he first time since 2008. But most of the decline was in apartment construction, which tends to vary sharply from month to month.

The most encouraging sign for the industry last month was that applications for new constru longchamps le pliage tote ction reached a fiveyear peak. That suggests the housing revival will be sustained.

Builders are benefiting fr longchamps le pliage tote om a sustained rebound in housing that began a year ago. Steady job growth, rockbottom mortgage rates and rising home values have boosted demand.

The overall economy grew at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in the JanuaryMarch quarter, up from a rate of just 0.4 percent in the OctoberDecember quarter. The fastest expansion in consumer spending in more than two years drove economic growth in the first quarter.

Many economists expect growth is slowing slightly in the current AprilJune period to around 2 percent. Still, cheaper gas prices helped consumers boost spending at retail businesses last month. Consumer spending accounts for nearly 70 percent of economic activity. longchamps le pliage tote