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OPINION

Report: Economy to grow modestly through fall, after spring's slump

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NEW YORK - A private research group said the economy is rebounding from its spring slump and should grow modestly through the fall.

The Conference Board said Friday that its index of leading economic indicators rose 0.8 percent last month. That's an improvement from April, when the index dropped 0.4 percent - the first decline since June 2010. A string of declines would indicate that a recession was coming.

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The May report was the largest increase since February. Eight of the 10 measures the Conference Board uses to calculate the index increased. In April, only four showed improvement. The brighter reading suggests the economy will regain some of the momentum it lost this spring, when high gas prices cut into consumer spending and businesses pulled back on hiring.

Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein cautioned that growth will be "choppy" through summer and fall, a point echoed by other economists. The housing market remains weak. And even though there has been some relief in recent weeks from the high gas and food costs, prices remain elevated.

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