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Economy in Brief

U.S. Leading Economic Indicators Decline and Trend Growth Weakens
by Tom Moeller  December 20, 2012

The Leading Economic Indicator index from the Conference Board declined 0.2% during November following a 0.3% October gain, initially estimated at 0.2%. Fifty percent of the component series had a positive influence on the index last month. A steeper interest rate yield curve, more building permits, a longer workweek and the leading credit index had the largest positive influences. These were offset by more initial claims for unemployment insurance, lower stock prices, a lower ISM new orders index and lower consumer expectations for business & economic conditions.

The index of coincident indicators increased 0.2% after a 0.1% October uptick. All of the component series contributed to the rise, notably manufacturing and trade sales. The index of lagging indicators rose 0.4% during November following a revised 0.1% gain. Three-quarters of the component series rose, including commercial & industrial loans outstanding, the change in the CPI for services and the consumer installment credit/personal income ratio.

Another leading economic series is the ratio of coincident-to-lagging indicators. It measures how the economy is performing versus its excesses. The figure fell last month to its lowest level since January 2010.

The Conference Board figures are available in Haver's BCI database; the components are available there, and most are also in USECON. The forecast figure for the Consensus are in the AS1REPNA database. Visit the Conference Board's site for coverage of leading indicator series from around the world. 


Business Cycle Indicators (%) Nov Oct Sep Y/Y 2011 2010 2009
Leading -0.2 0.3 0.4 1.8 5.2 7.6 -12.8
Coincident 0.2 0.1 0.2 1.8 2.8 2.5 -7.7
Lagging 0.4 0.3 0.0 4.2 1.8 -2.9 -1.0
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