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Economy in Brief

U.S. Leading Economic Indicators Rise on Financial Series' Strength
by Tom Moeller  June 20, 2013

The index of Leading Economic Indicators, published by the Conference Board, ticked up 0.1% (2.0% y/y) during May to 95.2, another high for the economic recovery. The gain followed an upwardly revised 0.8% April increase, last month reported as 0.6%. A 0.2% rise had been expected for April. Just 45 percent of the component series had a positive influence on the index. A steeper interest rate yield curve, higher stock prices and the leading credit index increased the total. These were offset by a lower ISM new orders index, fewer building permits and higher initial claims for unemployment insurance.

The index of coincident indicators gained 0.2% (1.5% y/y) after an unrevised 0.1% April uptick. Higher payroll employment, improved personal income less transfers and more manufacturing and trade sales had positive influences on the index. Industrial production was unchanged.

The index of lagging economic indicators increased 0.3% (3.4% y/y) after a minimal 0.1% April rise. Roughly two-thirds of the component series rose paced by more 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 fell 0.2% (-1.9% y/y) last month to 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 figures for the Consensus are in the AS1REPNA database. Visit the Conference Board's site for coverage of leading indicator series from around the world. 

The economic projections which accompanied yesterday's FOMC meeting are available here.

Business Cycle Indicators (%) May Apr Mar Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Leading 0.1 0.8 -0.3 2.0 2.0 5.1 8.0
Coincident 0.2 0.1 0.1 1.5 2.1 2.4 1.2
Lagging 0.3 0.1 0.3 3.4 3.6 2.7 -3.1
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