The index of leading economic indicators in the United States declined 0.1 percent in June, according to a report from the Conference Board. This follows a revised 0.2 percent drop for May. The organization says that for the first half of 2008, the leading index fell a total of 0.9 percent. The index forecasts economic activity for three to six months into the future. According to a statement from Ken Goldstein, labor economist at the Conference Board, the decline can be attributed to "a deep financial crisis, a prolonged, intense slump in housing, high gasoline and food prices, weaker consumer confidence, and a weak dollar." Six of the 10 indicators that make up the index declined in June: real money supply, stock prices, average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance, average weekly manufacturing hours, index of consumer expectations, and manufacturers' new orders for non-defense capital goods; the four indicators on the positive side were building permits, interest rate spread, index of supplier deliveries, and manufacturers' new orders for consumer goods and materials.
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