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The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the U.S. Increases

Friday, September 20, 2013

Press release from the issuing company

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.7 percent in August to 96.6 (2004 = 100), following a 0.5 percent increase in July, and no change in June.

“After a brief pause, the U.S. LEI rose sharply in July and August, resuming its upward trend,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Economist at The Conference Board. “If the LEI’s six-month growth rate, which has nearly doubled, continues in the coming months, economic growth should gradually strengthen through the end of the year. Despite weakness in residential construction, consumer expectations, and the stock market, improvements in the LEI’s labor market and financial components, as well as new manufacturing orders, drove this month’s gain.”

“The latest reading points to more pep in the pace of economic activity in the near term,” said Ken Goldstein, Economist at The Conference Board. “One unknown is how resilient confidence will remain, both consumer and business, given the mixed signals from the housing and labor markets. Perhaps the bigger question is a satisfactory resolution to federal budget squabbles.”

The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for the U.S. increased 0.2 percent in August to 106.3 (2004 = 100), following a 0.1 percent increase in July, and no change in June.

The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index® (LAG) increased 0.3 percent in August to 118.6 (2004 = 100), following a 0.1 percent decline in July and a 0.3 percent increase in June.

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.

The ten components of The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® for the U.S. include:

  • Average weekly hours, manufacturing
  • Average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance
  • Manufacturers’ new orders, consumer goods and materials
  • ISM Index of New Orders 
  • Manufacturers' new orders, nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders
  • Building permits, new private housing units
  • Stock prices, 500 common stocks
  • Leading Credit Index™
  • Interest rate spread, 10-year Treasury bonds less federal funds
  • Average consumer expectations for business conditions

For full press release and technical notes: 


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