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EDITIONS
Thursday, 18 July, 2002, 15:49 GMT 16:49 UK
US recovery sluggish
Shopping mall
Retail spending may be slowing
Economic recovery in the United States remains sluggish and fragile, a closely-watched survey suggests.

"We continue to be in a jobless, profitless recovery," said Ken Goldstein, chief economist of the Conference Board, a New York-based private research firm.

Its survey of 10 economic health checks, such as joblessness and hours worked in factories, did not register any improvement in June from May.

This amounts to a slowdown from May, when the board's index of leading economic indicators rose 0.6% on the previous month.

Mixed picture

"Only consumption growth has been a consistent growth force during the first half of the year," said Mr Goldstein.

"As if there were not enough to slow down economic growth, the financial markets continue to be pounded by a relentless barrage of news about questionable corporate practices."

Five of the survey's 10 components saw improvement in June. These were money supply, weekly jobless claims and weekly manufacturing hours.

But stock prices and consumer expectations fell in June, while manufacturers' orders of consumer goods remained unchanged.

Consumers count

Consumers account for two-thirds of the US economy, and their confidence is vital for the prospects of future economic recovery.

Not only did consumer confidence fall in June, but other researchers have found signs of a slowdown in spending.

But the latest official figures gave a more hopeful picture on joblessness, showing new claims for unemployment benefit had fallen sharply during the week.

The US Labor Department said new claims hit their lowest level in 17 months in the week to 13 July, falling by a seasonally adjusted 28,000 to 379,000.


Economic indicators

Fears and hopes

US Fed decisons

IN DEPTH
See also:

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28 May 02 | Business
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