A gauge of future economic activity edged higher in September, suggesting the economy may continue to trudge forward at a modest pace despite a worsening housing slump.
This news follows a separate report that showed an unexpected jump in the number of workers filing new claims for jobless aid, potentially signalling a weakening labor market.
The Conference Board said Thursday its index of leading economic indicators rose 0.3 percent in September to 137.9, slightly below analysts' consensus forecast for a 0.4 percent rise. The modest growth follows a sharp 0.8 percent drop in August. The index has been erratic this year - rising one month and falling the next - but overall, growth has been flat.
The index is designed to predict economic activity in the coming three months.
Seven of the 10 data points tracked by the Conference Board increased last month, the strongest of which were vendor performance, the job market and stock prices. The housing market continued to lag.
Separately, the number of workers filing new claims for jobless aid jumped by 28,000 last week, far more than anticipated and the biggest increase for any week since February, the Labor Department said Thursday.