Conditions for the American economy are improving and may continue doing so, according to a new report out from one private research group.

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the U.S. increased 0.7% in September to 97.1, following a 0.7% increase in August, and a 0.4% hike in July. The September gain was more than many economist were expecting.

“The September LEI suggests the economy was expanding modestly and possibly gaining momentum before the government shutdown,” said Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board. “Beyond the immediate fallout of the shutdown, the biggest challenge is whether relatively weak consumer demand, pinned down by weak wage growth and low levels of confidence, will recover during the final stretch of 2013 and into 2014.”

The LEI uses ten components to measure the state of the economy and is a barometer of conditions three to six months down the road.

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