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Economy in Brief

ECRI U.S. Leading Index Trending Higher
by Tom Moeller February 22, 2005

The Weekly Leading Index of the US economy from the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) resumed an up trend after stuttering around the new year. Flat in the latest week, the index in February is up 1.2% from January and the six month growth rate improved to +1.9%, its best since early July.

Higher stock and commodity prices as well as lower interest rates offset fewer new mortgage applications in the latest week.

During the last ten years there has been a 69% correlation between the six-month growth in the ECRI leading index of the US economy and two quarter growth in real GDP.

The components of the ECRI weekly leading index are money supply plus stock & bond mutual funds, the JOC-ECRI industrial materials price index, mortgage applications, bond quality spreads, stock prices, bond yields, and initial jobless insurance claims.

The ECRI Leading Index's recent pattern generally mirrors the Conference Board's Index of Leading Economic Indicators, with a slight lead. Construction of the ECRI Leading Index differs from the Conference Board Index but there has been a 70% correlation between the y/y percent change in the two series over the last 10 years.

The median lead of the ECRI index at business cycle peaks has been 10.5 months and at cycle troughs 3.0 months.

The latest from ECRI is available here.

Productivity and Inflation from Janet L. Yellen, President & CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, can be found here.

ECRI Leading Index 02/11/05 02/04/05 Growth Rate 2004 2003 2002
Weekly 134.3 134.3 1.9% 4.2% 6.6% 1.1%
  Jan Dec        
Monthly 132.7 133.2 -0.1%      
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