A private measure of US economic prospects issuedon Wednesday showed an improvement in September for the thirdconsecutive month. The Leading Economic Index, issued by The Conference Board, a NewYork-based business think tank, rose 0.7 per cent to 97.1, based on a2004 mark of 100. The leading indicators were up 0.7 per cent inAugust and 0.4 per cent in July. The September figure had been scheduled for release on October 18,but was postponed due to the federal budget shutdown, which leftgovernment agencies that collect and report economic data idle forthe first two weeks of October. The 10 components of the leading economic indicators includegovernment-generated data on average hours worked in manufacturingand average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance, whichare tracked by the Bureau of Labour Statistics.