After holding steady in November, the Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the U.S. edged up 0.5% to 93.9 last month, fueled in part by an improvement in initial unemployment insurance claims. Although housing has turned positive for growth, manufacturers’ new orders and capital spending remain depressed. “The latest data suggest that a pickup in domestic growth is now more likely, compared to a few months ago,” says Ken Goldstein, an economist at the Conference Board.
Other economists weighed in as well. “There’s a potential for much stronger growth at some point as we take up a lot of the slack but we just don’t see it coming about anytime soon,” says Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates in St. Petersburg, FL. “There’ve been issues with the election, the fiscal cliff, and now the debt ceiling, all these uncertainties weighing on the market.”