Conference Board's U.S. Leading Economic Index Up ForThird Month

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Third Consecutive Increase; Improvement was Driven by Majority of Components …read more

The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index  for the U.S. rose 0.5% in February to 94.8, following a 0.5% increase in January, and a 0.4% increase in December.

“This month’s increase in the U.S. LEI – the third consecutive – was widespread and driven by a majority of its components,” says Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at The Conference Board.

“Even though consumer expectations and manufacturing new orders remain weak, the economy continues to expand slowly, and may be developing some resilience against headwinds from, for example, federal spending cuts due to improving residential construction and labor market conditions,” Ozyildirim says. “Meanwhile, the U.S. CEI posted a small gain following January’s sharp drop due to a decline in personal income.”

The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index (CEI) for the U.S. increased 0.2% in February to 105.1 following a 1% decline in January, and a 0.9% increase in December.

“The U.S. economy is growing slowly now, and with this reading increases hope that it may pick up some momentum in the second half of the year,” says Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board. “However, this latest report does not yet capture the recent effects of sequestration, which could dampen the pickup in GDP.”

The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index (LAG) increased 0.1% in February to 118 following a 1.6% increase in January, and no change in December.

About The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S.

The composite economic indexes are the key elements in an analytic system designed to signal peaks and troughs in the business cycle.

The leading, coincident, and lagging economic indexes are essentially composite averages of several individual leading, coincident, or lagging indicators.

They are constructed to summarize and reveal common turning point patterns in economic data in a clearer and more convincing manner than any individual component – primarily because they smooth out some of the volatility of individual components.

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