Leading Economic Index Points To Continued Growth

Despite declines in December and January, the U.S. economy is expected to continue showing moderate growth in the near term. The Conference Board Leading Economic Index declined 0.2 percent in January to 123.2. January’s decrease followed a 0.3 percent slip in December 2015 and a 0.5 percent increase in November.

“The U.S. LEI fell slightly in January, driven primarily by large declines in stock prices and further weakness in initial claims for unemployment insurance,” says Ataman Ozyildirim, director of business cycles and growth research at The Conference Board. “Despite back-to-back monthly declines, the index doesn’t signal a significant increase in the risk of recession, and its six-month growth rate remains consistent with a modest economic expansion through early 2016.”

The monthly indexes published by the Conference Board—a global, independent business membership and research association—are elements in an analytic system designed to signal peaks and troughs in the business cycle. The indexes are comprised of 10 components and are constructed to summarize and reveal common turning-point patterns in economic data in a clearer and more convincing manner than any individual component—primarily because they smooth out some of the volatility of individual components.

The 10 components of The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the U.S. include: average weekly hours for manufacturing; average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance; manufacturers’ new orders for consumer goods and materials; the ISM Index of New Orders; manufacturers’ new orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders; building permits for new private housing units; stock prices of 500 common stocks; the Leading Credit Index; interest rate spread of 10-year Treasury bonds less federal funds; and average consumer expectations for business conditions.

For more on The Conference Board’s index, click here.

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