Pointing to continued weakness in the economy, the Conference Board said that its leading economic indicators index fell by a little more than economists had been anticipating in March.

The Conference Board released a report Monday morning showing that its leading economic index fell 0.3 percent in March following a revised 0.2 percent decrease in February. The agency noted that the index has not risen in the past nine months.

Economists had been expecting the index to fall 0.2 percent compared to the 0.4 percent decrease that had been reported for the previous month.

Negative contributions from building permits, stock prices, and the index of supplier deliveries contributed to the slightly bigger than expected decrease by the index.

Nonetheless, positive contributions from real money supply and the yield spread helped to limit the downside for the leading index.

The Conference Board noted that the leading economic index decreased 2.5 percent during the six-month span through March, with only two out of ten components advancing.

The report also showed that the coincident economic index fell 0.4 percent in March following a 0.6 percent decrease in February.

Negative contributions from non-farm payrolls and industrial production more than offset positive contributions from personal income and manufacturing and trade sales.

Additionally, the lagging economic index also fell 0.4 percent in March after falling 0.3 percent in the previous month. Only one of the seven components advanced for the month.

While the Conference Board said that the indexes suggest that the recession will continue in the near term, it noted that the contraction in activity could become less severe in upcoming months.

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