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US Reports: Slow Economic Growth, Little Inflation, Meager Job Gains

A flurry of economic reports shows the U.S. economy is likely to grow slowly for the next few months, with little inflation and small improvements in the job market.

Thursday's report from the Conference Board business group says its index of leading indicators moved up a modest one-tenth of a percentage point in February. The gauge is designed to predict economic growth for the next three to six months.

A separate report from the U.S. government showed inflation to be tame in February. Overall prices were unchanged, while outside the volatile area of food and energy, prices advanced only one-tenth of a percent.

The figures are in line with U.S. central bank predictions that inflation will be very low.

Federal Reserve experts say the economic slowdown leaves factories operating below capacity and many people out of work. That makes it hard for producers to demand price increases and for workers to get raises.

A separate government report shows the troubled labor market getting slightly better. The Labor Department says the number of U.S. workers signing up for unemployment compensation decreased by 5,000 to a total of 457,000 last week.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.