US Economy
US Leading Economic Index declined in April for first time since June 2010
By Finfacts Team
May 19, 2011 - 3:14 PM

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The US Leading Economic Index (LEI) declined 0.3% in April to 114.0 (2004 = 100), following a 0.7% increase in March, and a 0.9% rise in February.

Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at the Conference Board said: "The US. LEI has been rising since March 2009, with only a brief one-month interruption in June 2010, and now, in April 2011. The US. CEI, a monthly measure of current economic conditions, continued to increase, supported by improving employment figures. Overall, the composite indexes still point to strengthening business conditions in the near term, although the path may be uneven."

Ken Goldstein commented: "The economy has been growing moderately and delivering some new jobs. The US. LEI was rising strongly – up sharply in four of the five months through March – but slipped in April. Economic growth will likely continue through the summer and fall, but the pace of economic activity may be choppy."

The Coincident Economic Index (CEI) increased 0.1% in April to 102.8 (2004 = 100), following a 0.2% increase in March, and a 0.1% decline in February.

The Lagging Economic Index (LAG) rose 0.5% in April to 108.8 (2004 = 100), following a 0.3% increase in March, and a 0.3% increase in February.

The Conference Board, a private new York-based research firm, said that 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 Leading Economic Index include:

  • Average weekly hours, manufacturing
  • Average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance
  • Manufacturers’ new orders, consumer goods and materials
  • Index of supplier deliveries – vendor performance
  • Manufacturers' new orders, nondefense capital goods
  • Building permits, new private housing units
  • Stock prices, 500 common stocks
  • Money supply, M2
  • Interest rate spread, 10-year Treasury bonds less federal funds
  • Index of consumer expectations

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