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Economy in Brief

U.S. Leading Economic Indicators Point Toward Continued Economic Expansion
by Tom Moeller  May 17, 2013

The index of Leading Economic Indicators, published by the Conference Board, jumped 0.6% (2.3% y/y) during April to 95.0, a new high for the economic recovery. A 0.2% rise had been expected. The latest increase followed a revised 0.2% March decline, initially reported as -0.1%. Seventy percent of the component series had a positive influence on the index. More building permits, a steeper interest rate yield curve, fewer initial claims for jobless insurance and the leading credit index had the largest positive influences on the total. These were offset by a shorter workweek, a lower ISM new orders index and a lower average of consumer expectations on business and consumer conditions.

The index of coincident indicators improved 0.1% (+1.7% y/y) after a 0.2% March rise, initially reported as a 0.1% slip. Higher personal income less transfer payments, payroll employment and manufacturing and trade sales offset a decline in industrial production.

The index of lagging economic indicators ticked up 0.1% (3.8% y/y). Half of the component series rose paced by a longer duration of unemployment. That was offset by fewer commercial & industrial loans outstanding.

Another leading economic series is the ratio of coincident-to-lagging indicators. It measures how the economy is performing versus its excesses. The figure was unchanged last month near its lowest level of the economic expansion.

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 (%) Apr Mar Feb Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Leading 0.6 -0.2 0.4 2.3 2.0 5.1 8.0
Coincident 0.1 0.2 0.5 1.7 2.1 2.4 1.2
Lagging 0.1 0.2 0.0 3.8 3.6 2.7 -3.1
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