Recent Updates

  • China: GDP (Q1)
  • Euro area: CSPP Holdings Detail (Q1)
  • US: Consumer Sentiment (Apr-prelim), New Residential Constr (Mar)
  • Hong Kong: Personal Bankruptcy Petitions, Clearing
  • more updates...

Economy in Brief

U.S. Leading Economic Indicators Strengthen
by Tom Moeller  May 21, 2015

The Index of Leading Economic Indicators from the Conference Board increased 0.7% during April (5.6% y/y) following a 0.4% March rise, revised from 0.2%. A 0.3% rise had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The increase improved three-month growth to 4.4% (AR), its best in three months. Eighty percent of the component series improved m/m. More building permits, a steeper interest rate yield curve, improved consumer expectations for business/economic conditions, nondefense capital goods orders and the leading credit index led last month's overall index higher.

The index of coincident indicators improved 0.2% (2.6% y/y) following a downwardly revised 0.1% decline. Three-month growth held steady at 1.2%, its weakest since March 2013. Nonfarm payroll employment, personal income less transfers and manufacturing & trade sales made positive contributions to the index while industrial production fell.

The lagging indicators index ticked 0.1% higher (3.3% y/y). During the last three months, growth of 3.6% was down from the recent high, suggesting a lessening buildup of economic excess. Business inventories and a higher consumer credit to income ratios accounted for last month's increase.

The ratio of coincident-to-lagging indicators is a measure of how the economy is performing versus its excesses. It ticked higher last month versus the expansion low.

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 (%) Apr Mar Feb Apr Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
Leading 0.7 0.4 -0.2 5.6 5.8 3.3 2.1
Coincident 0.2 -0.1 0.2 2.6 2.5 1.9 2.6
Lagging 0.1 0.5 0.2 3.3 3.8 3.8 3.1
large image