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Economic Report: U.S. economy shrugged off delta in July and expanded rapidly, leading index shows

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The U.S. grew strongly in July even as the delta variant surged and the economy appeared primed to continue to expand at a rapid pace in the fall, a survey showed.

The leading economic index jumped 0.9% last month, the Conference Board said Thursday

“The U.S. LEI registered another large gain in July, with all components contributing positively,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, director of business cycles research at the board.

So far there’s little evidence to suggest delta has had a big impact on the U.S. economy. Most companies and individuals appear to have adjusted to the new strain just as they have done during past bouts in which cases surged.

Read: Jobless claims drop to pandemic low of 348,000 in sign companies still hiring despite deltas

“The leading index’s overall upward trend, which started with the end of the pandemic-induced recession in April 2020, is consistent with strong economic growth in the second half of the year,” Ozyildirim said.

The delta variant and rising inflation could act as headwinds in the months ahead, Ozyildirim acknowledged, but the board still expects the U.S. economy to expand 6% for the full year.

The LEI is a weighted gauge of 10 indicators designed to signal business-cycle peaks and valleys.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA,
-0.12%

and S&P 500
SPX,
+0.01%

fell in Thursday trades.

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