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Economy in Brief

U.S. Leading Economic Indicators Index Signals Continued Growth
by Tom Moeller  October 23, 2014

The Index of Leading Economic Indicators from the Conference Board increased 0.8% (6.3% y/y) last month following no change in August, revised from 0.2%. The series was at the highest level since August 2007 but the y/y gain of 6.3% was down from its 7.4% peak. Ninety percent of the component series improved m/m, the most since November 2010. A longer average workweek, fewer initial claims for jobless insurance, more building permits and higher stock prices led the way upward.

The index of coincident indicators increased 0.4% (2.7% y/y), the largest monthly gain since March. Each of the component series increased including nonfarm payroll employment, personal income less transfers, industrial production and business sales.

The lagging indicators index rose 0.1% (4.0% y/y), the weakest monthly reading since November. Recent positive contributions to the index, such as a shortened average duration of unemployment, more C&I loans outstanding and the six-month change in the services CPI, diminished greatly last month.

The index of coincident-to-lagging indicators is a measure of how the economy is performing versus its excesses. It rose last month for the first time since February.

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 2013 2012 2011
Leading 0.8 0.0 1.1 6.3 3.5 2.2 5.3
Coincident 0.4 0.1 0.3 2.7 1.9 2.3 2.6
Lagging 0.1 0.3 0.2 4.0 3.8 3.4 2.3
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