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Economy in Brief

U.S. Leading Economic Indicators Continue Upward
by Tom Moeller  September 19, 2013

The index of Leading Economic Indicators, published by the Conference Board, increased 0.7% last month (4.2% y/y). The gain was the strongest since April and followed an upwardly-revised 0.5% July increase. A 0.5% rise had been expected for August in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The breadth of component increase increased sharply last month. Eighty-five percent of the component series had a positive influence on the index, the most since March 2011. A steeper interest rate yield curve and the ISM new orders index had the largest positive influences on the total. These were followed by the leading credit index, a longer workweek, lower initial claims for jobless insurance and higher nondefense capital goods orders.

The index of coincident indicators rose 0.2% (2.1% y/y) after a 0.1% July gain. Each of the component series - payroll employment, personal income less transfers, manufacturing & trade sales and industrial production - increased.

The index of lagging economic indicators rose 0.3% (2.3% y/y) following a revised 0.1% July slip. More C&I loans outstanding had the greatest positive effect on the index .

Another leading economic series is the ratio of coincident-to-lagging indicators. It measures how the economy is performing versus its excesses. The figure slipped last month (-0.2% y/y) and has been moving sideways all year.

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. 

Business Cycle Indicators (%) Aug Jul Jun Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Leading 0.7 0.5 0.0 4.2 2.0 5.1 8.0
Coincident 0.2 0.1 0.0 2.1 2.1 2.4 1.2
Lagging 0.3 -0.1 0.3 2.3 3.6 2.7 -3.1
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