A key gauge of economic activity dropped in April after rising in March, New York-based Conference Board reported late last month.
Suggesting that the economic recovery is sluggish, the research firm said its index of leading economic indicators declined 0.4% in April to 111.7 after rising 0.1% the month before. Analysts had forecast a decrease, but by only 0.1%.
“The signal from the indicators is that the recovery is developing quite slowly,” Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein said. “Despite the strong growth in gross domestic product in the first quarter, the recovery in the industrial core remains weak.”
Layoffs and slower growth in wages has cut into consumers' income, Goldstein noted. And he added that rising energy costs and the completion of most mortgage refinancing now in the pipeline could slow household purchases in coming months.