A popular index gauging leading U.S. economic indicators grew for a third straight month in November, signaling moderate economic growth as the year closes out.
The Conference Board's Leading Economic Index (LEI) increased 0.6 percent in November to 105.5, the group reported. The increase matched October's improvement and was slightly weaker than September's 0.8 percent growth.
Released monthly, the index gauges the potential for future economic growth based on 10 leading components, including homebuilding permits, weekly initial unemployment claims, and average consumer expectations for business conditions.
"The increase in the LEI signals continued moderate growth through the winter season," said Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board. "The biggest challenge has been, and remains, more income growth. However, with labor market conditions tightening, we are seeing the first signs of wage growth starting to pick up."
The Conference Board's two other economic indices—measuring current and lagging indicators—also improved last month. The coincident economic index, which includes payrolls and incomes, grew 0.4 percent to 110.7, while the lagging economic index climbed 0.3 percent to 125.4.
"The current situation, measured by the coincident economic index, has been improving steadily, with employment and industrial production making the largest contributions in November," said Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at The Conference Board.