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Economy in Brief

U.S. Leading Economic Indicators Index Posts Another Firm Gain
by Tom Moeller  July 23, 2015

The Index of Leading Economic Indicators from the Conference Board increased 0.6% during June following a 0.8% rise during May, revised from 0.7%. A 0.2% improvement had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The improvement raised three-month growth to 8.2% (AR), its best since July of last year. Three quarters of the component series rose m/m, roughly the same as during the prior two months. A steeper interest rate yield curve, more building permits, improved consumer expectations economic conditions, more nondefense capital goods orders and the leading credit index led last month's overall index higher.

The index of coincident indicators gained 0.2% following a like rise during May, revised from 0.1%. Three-month growth picked up to 2.8% (AR), its firmest since January. Each of the four component series increased, including nonfarm payroll employment, personal income less transfers, manufacturing & trade sales and industrial production.

The lagging indicators index increased 0.7% (3.4% y/y) after a 0.1% uptick, revised from 0.2%. Growth of 4.4% during the last three months was the strongest since March, suggesting a modest buildup of economic excess. A shorter average duration of unemployment, a firming services CPI and a higher consumer credit-to-income ratio accounted for month's increase.

The ratio of coincident-to-lagging indicators is a measure of how the economy is performing versus its excesses. It declined last month to a new low for 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.

Business Cycle Indicators (%) Jun May Apr Jun Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
Leading 0.6 0.8 0.6 5.5 5.8 3.3 2.1
Coincident 0.2 0.2 0.3 2.6 2.5 1.9 2.6
Lagging 0.7 0.1 0.2 3.4 3.8 3.8 3.1
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