February 19, 2010 / 3:46 PM / 10 years ago

ECRI: U.S. econ expansion to ease off by mid-year

 NEW YORK, Feb 19 (Reuters) - A forward-looking measure of
U.S. economic growth slipped further in the latest week, while
its yearly growth gauge continued to slide from October's
record highs, suggesting expansion will likely ease by
mid-year, a research group said on Friday.
 The Economic Cycle Research Institute, a New York-based
independent forecasting group, said its Weekly Leading Index
fell to 128.4 for the week ended Feb. 12 from 130.0 the prior
 It was the lowest reading since November 13, 2009, when it
stood at 127.5.
 The index's annualized growth rate declined for the tenth
straight week to 17.1 percent, from 19.6 percent in the prior
report, which was revised down from an original 19.7 percent.
It was the lowest rate since Aug. 7, 2009 when it read 14.6
 Reaffirming last week's forecast, ECRI Managing Director
Lakshman Achuthan emphasized that the pace of economic
expansion "will begin to ease off by mid-2010," as the yearly
growth figure continued to fall from an October record high.
 Achuthan, who deems the current recovery as strongest since
the early 1980s, said the index show that "with the 6 percent
GDP growth and the jobless rate having peaked back in October
... a double dip is still out of the question."
 (Reporting by Camille Drummond, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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