U.S. leading indicators fall 0.2%
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - A gauge of future economic activity declined in August for the second straight month, falling 0.2%, the Conference Board said Thursday ... Economists surveyed by MarketWatch were expecting the leading index to fall 0.3% ... Over the past six months, the leading index has increased 0.4%, with half of the 10 indicators improving. The index is designed to forecast economic activity six to nine months ahead.
In a separate report, the Labor Department said first-time jobless claims rose by 8,000 to 432,000 last week, putting the total number of Katrina-related claims at 214,000
Jobless claims surge on Katrina ... Initial claims increase by 8,000 to 432,000
About 103,000 of the new unadjusted claims were related to Hurricane Katrina, a department spokesman said. So far, about 214,000 claims related to Katrina have been filed in the three weeks since the storm struck.
That's a huge amount of people out of work, both for natural (Hurricane Katrina) and unnatural reasons (Bush administration).