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Economy in Brief

U.S. Leading Economic Indicators Post Another Firm Increase
by Tom Moeller  November 6, 2013

The index of Leading Economic Indicators, published by the Conference Board, again rose 0.7% during September (4.2% y/y). That remained the strongest since April. A 0.6% rise had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The breadth of component increase slipped m/m to a still-broad 70%. Fewer initial unemployment insurance claims, a steeper interest rate yield curve, the ISM new orders index and the leading credit index had the largest positive influences on the total. These were followed by higher consumer goods & materials orders, higher stock prices and more building permits.

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 (-0.7% y/y) and has been moving sideways all year.

The index of coincident indicators rose 0.2% (2.3% y/y) after a 0.3% August 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 0.6% (3.0% y/y) following an unrevised 0.3% August increase. More commercial & industrial loans outstanding continued to have the greatest positive effect on the index. That was followed by a higher consumer installment credit/income ratio and a strengthened gain in the services CPI.

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 (%) Sep Aug Jul Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Leading 0.7 0.7 0.4 4.2 2.0 5.1 8.0
Coincident 0.2 0.3 0.0 2.3 2.1 2.4 1.2
Lagging 0.6 0.3 -0.1 3.0 3.6 2.7 -3.1
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