Economic Report: U.S. growth slowed toward the end of 2019, leading index shows, but economy is stable

A jobseeker checks her options. The U.s. economy slowed toward the end of last year, but it’s still growing and likely to continue to do so in 2020. The numbers: The economy slowed toward the end of last year, but it’s still growing at a roughly 2% pace that’s prevailed since the U.S. exited its…

Economic Report: U.S. growth slowed toward the end of 2019, leading index shows, but economy is stable

A jobseeker checks her options. The U.s. economy slowed toward the end of last year, but it’s still growing and likely to continue to do so in 2020. The numbers: The economy slowed toward the end of last year, but it’s still growing at a roughly 2% pace that’s prevailed since the U.S. exited its last recession 11 years ago, according to an index that measures the nation’s economic health. The leading economic index fell 0.3% in December to mark the fourth decline in the past five months, the Conference Board said Thursday. The drop in the index largely stemmed from an increase in jobless claims and a decline in building permits for new houses, but claims have fallen since then and the weakness in permits is seen as temporary. What happened: The leading index fell last month after a spike in jobless claims in late November and early December, but applications for unemployment benefits have already returned close to a 50-year low. Read: New jobless claims rise to 211,000 in mid-January, but still show very few layoffs Building permits were also weak in December, but construction on new homes actually hit a 13-year high. Permits are trending well above year-ago levels, and with mortgage rates falling again, are
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