Recent Updates

  • Macao: Visitor Arrivals (Apr)
  • Turkey: Domestic Debt by Holder (APR)
  • UK Regional: Northern Ireland: Mortgage Possession (Q1)
  • UK Regional: GfK Consumer Confidence Barometer by Region (May)
  • North Macedonia: Broad Money, Other Depository Corporations'
  • more updates...

Economy in Brief

U.S. Leading Economic Indicators Increase but Forward Momentum Slows
by Tom Moeller  March 19, 2015

The Index of Leading Economic Indicators from the Conference Board increased 0.2% (6.2% y/y) during February following an unrevised 0.2% January improvement. A 0.2% rise had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The increase lowered three-month growth to 3.7% (AR), its weakest in twelve months. Seventy percent of the component series improved m/m, down a bit from the recent highest breadth of increase. A steeper interest rate yield curve, higher stock prices, more building permits, improved consumer expectations for business/economic conditions and the leading credit index led last month's index higher. Other component series improved, but the contributions from unemployment insurance claims, ISM new orders and the average workweek were negative.

The index of coincident indicators gained 0.2% (3.0% y/y), the same as in January. Three-month growth, however, declined to 2.5%, its weakest since October. Each of the four component series increased last month, including nonfarm payroll employment, personal income less transfers, business sales and industrial production.

The lagging indicators index increased 0.3% (3.5% y/y), the same as in January. During the last three months, growth of 3.5% was up from 2.1% in December, suggesting a modest buildup of economic excess. The duration of unemployment, more C&I loans outstanding and a higher consumer installment credit/personal income ratio accounted for much of last month's increase.

The index of coincident-to-lagging indicators is a measure of how the economy is performing versus its excesses. It slipped for the second straight month but remained up from the cycle-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 (%) Feb Jan Dec Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
Leading 0.2 0.2 0.4 6.2 5.8 3.3 2.1
Coincident 0.2 0.2 0.3 3.0 2.5 1.9 2.6
Lagging 0.3 0.3 0.2 3.5 3.8 3.8 3.1
large image