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Recession is ending, leading indicators say

The Conference Board index rose for its fifth straight month.

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
Customers leave a store with their purchases in Alexandria, Va. An improvement in consumer expectations was one of five leading indicators in August pointing to an economic upturn.

Indicators of the future direction of the economy improved for the fifth month in a row, signaling that the recession is ending.

The index of leading economic indicators jumped 0.6 percent in August, according to a Conference Board report released Wednesday. Five of the 10 indicators rose and three declined. The index is closely watched because it's designed to forecast the state of the economy a few months in advance.

A separate Conference Board index, which measures current economic conditions, was essentially unchanged from its level in June or July.

"These numbers are consistent with the view that after a very severe downturn, a recovery is very near," said Ken Goldstein, economist at the Conference Board, in a release. “But the intensity and pattern of that recovery is more uncertain.”

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