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Economy in Brief

U.S. Index of Leading Indicators Fell in April
by Sandy Batten  May 19, 2022

• Decline led by weak building permits and falling consumer expectations.

• Coincident indicators continued to rise.

• Lagging indicators slowed.

The Conference Board's Composite Leading Economic Indicators index fell 0.3% m/m (4.7% y/y) in April after rising 0.1% m/m in March, revised from 0.3%. The Action Economics Forecast Survey had expected no change in April. This was the second monthly decline in the past four months.

The Leading Index is comprised of 10 components which historically have portended changes in overall economic activity. Five of the index's components fell in April, one was unchanged and four increased. The overall decline was attributed mostly to weak building permits and declining consumer expectations. The still positively sloped Treasury yield curve made the largest contribution.

The Index of Coincident Economic Indicators rose 0.4% (3.0% y/y) in April following a 0.3% m/m increase in March, revised from 0.4%. Each of the index's four components (nonagricultural employment, personal income less transfers, real manufacturing and trade sales, and industrial production) rose in April.

The Index of Lagging Economic Indicators increased 0.4% m/m (4.2% y/y) in April, down from a 0.7% m/m gain in March, revised from 0.6%. Three of the index's seven components contributed positively to the overall increase in April, led by commercial and industrial loans, while three subtracted with one unchanged.

The Conference Board figures are available in Haver's BCI database; the components are available there, and most are also in USECON. The expectations are in the AS1REPNA database. Visit the Conference Board's site for coverage of leading indicator series from around the world.

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