The latest read on where the U.S. economy is heading suggests activity will slow a bit in the coming months.

The private group The Conference Board said its Index of Leading Economic Indicators unexpectedly fell in March following three straight monthly gains. This gauge, used to measure the outlook of the economy over the next three to six months, declined 0.1% following a 0.5% increase in both February and January.

The group says the leading indicator still points to a continuing but slow growth environment. Weakness in consumer expectations and housing permits was offset by the positive interest rate spread and other financial components.

Meanwhile, the coincident economic index, a measure of current conditions, is down since December due to a large decline in personal income.

“Data for March reflect an economy that has lost some steam,” says Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board. “In addition to headwinds from government spending cuts, the private sector economy may struggle to maintain its momentum. The biggest challenge remains weak demand, due to nervous consumer sentiment and slow income growth.”

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