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The Conference Board uses four statistics for its coincident US economic index. In order of importance, these are: total employees (51%), real income less transfer payments (22%), industrial production (14%) and manufacturing and trade sales (11%). While the US recovery has been -- and continues to be -- weak, all of these metrics are still pointing to modest expansion. Let's take these in their respective order of importance in the coincident index.

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Total employees on payrolls has been increasing solidly since mid-2010.

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Real income less transfer payments has been increasing since early 2010. However, these data series has moved sideways for the last approximately 6 months. Considering that unemployment is still high, this is hardly surprising as a weak employment situation means employees have muted salary bargaining power. The closer the economy comes to full employment, the larger this increase should be.

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IP bottomed right at the end of the recession and has been on an upward path since.

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Real trade and manufacturing sales have also been steadily rising, although their path is less "straight up" and more "a month of strong advances was followed by a decline."

While the pace of expansion is agonizingly slow, it is still an expansion.

Source: U.S.' Slow Recovery Still Intact