Economy’s Growth Expected To Continue Into 2018

The U.S. economy’s growth continued into November, with The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. climbing 0.4 percent to 130.9. It increased 1.2 percent in October and 0.1 percent in September.

“The U.S. LEI rose again in November, suggesting that solid economic growth will continue into the first half of 2018,” says Ataman Ozyildirim, director of business cycles and growth research at The Conference Board. “In recent months, unemployment insurance claims have returned to pre-hurricane levels. In addition, improving financial indicators, new orders in manufacturing and historically high consumer sentiment have propelled the U.S. LEI even higher.”

The Conference Board’s Coincident Economic Index (CEI), a measure of current economic activity, also increased in November, rising 0.3 percent to 116.5, following a 0.3 percent increase in October and a 0.1 percent decline in September. Its Lagging Economic Index, an indicator representing changes that come only after the economy has begun to follow a particular trend, ticked up 0.1 percent in November to 125.6, after an increase of 0.3 percent in October and a 0.1 percent decrease in September.

The Conference Board’s indexes are composites of leading, coincident and lagging economic indicators designed to highlight peaks and troughs in the business cycle that could be obscured by volatility within individual components. The LEI is comprised of 10 indicators. These include average weekly hours, manufacturing; average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance; manufacturers’ new orders, consumer goods and materials; the Institute of Supply Management Index of New Orders; manufacturers' new orders, nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders; building permits, new private housing units; stock prices, 500 common stocks; the Leading Credit Index; the interest rate spread, 10-year Treasury bonds less federal funds; and average consumer expectations for business conditions.

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