Yearly US economic growth rate at 23-week low-ECRI

NEW YORK, July 3 (Reuters) - A gauge of future U.S. economic growth fell in the latest week and its annualized growth rate also hit a 23-week low, indicating recession is the most important problem facing the economy, a research group said on Thursday.

The Economic Cycle Research Institute, a New York-based independent forecasting group, said its Weekly Leading Index slipped to 131.2 in the week to June 27 from 131.6 in the previous period, downwardly revised from 131.7.

The fall in the index was due to lower stock prices and higher jobless claims, and was partly offset by strength in housing, said Lakshman Achuthan, managing director at ECRI, in an instant message interview.

The index’s annualized growth rate fell to negative 6.3 percent from minus 6.0 percent.

“The decline in WLI growth to a 23-week low underscores the reality that recession is the immediate problem at hand,” Achuthan said. (Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by James Dalgleish)