Leading economic index goes down 1.8 percent

The composite index of leading economic indicators, a compiled measure of 12 separate pieces of economic data, fell 1.8 percent last month and is now down 6. 8 percent since April, a Commerce Department report says.

Emphasizing problems in the current recession, the report shows a sharp rise in the worker layoff rate and a steep decline in new orders for consumer goods. The department's chief economist, Robert Ortner, predicts a recovery beginning in the second quarter of next year.

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