The index had fallen a revised 0.9 percent in August and 0.7 percent in July.
A one-time jump in the money supply as the federal government undertook a series of expensive bailouts helped September’s index, said Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.
“The trend is still downwards, and October’s index will plunge,” Shepherdson said. Down 3.3 percent for the year, the index is “consistent with recession, and it has not hit bottom yet.”
Ken Goldstein, a labor economist at the Conference Board, presented a slightly sunnier picture.
“Data on hand reflect a contracting economy, but not one in free fall,” Goldstein said. “More likely, what’s going in the financial market is a stretching of the recovery process — which could take a full year to develop.”