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The conference Board of Leading Indicators Index fell 0.3% in March, but some sporadic signs of improvement in the economy in April is "leading" some to believe that although the recession will continue through the summer, its intensity will lessen.

"There have been some intermittent signs of improvement in the economy in April, but the leading economic index and most of its components are still pointing down," said Ken Goldstein, economist at the Conference Board.

The index is a combined reading of 10 economic indicators related to employment, production, new orders, consumer confidence, housing, stock prices, money supply, and interest rate spreads but tends to have a muted impact because most of the indicators used in the calculation are released previously.

The national activity index published monthly by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago indicated that the U.S. economy is still mired deep in a recession with the three-month average for the index improving slightly to -3.27 from -3.57 in February and -3.69 in January, the lowest since 1975. Any reading under zero indicates below-average growth

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