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by Tali Arbel
Boston.com

New York—A private forecast of economic activity rose in August for the fifth straight month, the latest sign the recession has ended. The Conference’s Board leading indicators point to an economy on solid ground early next year, though some analysts caution that a rising unemployment rate will restrain growth.

The Conference Board said Monday its index of leading indicators rose 0.6 percent in August. That follows a 0.9 percent gain in July revised up from 0.6 percent. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected an 0.7 percent gain last month.

The indicators are designed to project economic activity in the next three to six months. The August results support many analysts’ projections that the economy started growing again in the current July-September quarter and will continue to gain in the fourth quarter.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke last week said the recession was “very likely over.”

The recession’s end “is no longer a source of heated discussion … but whether or not the economy can keep grinding forward (and at what speed) is still a big question mark,” Jennifer Lee, an economist at BMO Capital Markets, wrote in a note to clients Monday.

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