U.S. Economy To Continue Growth Through First Half Of 2018

The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.6 percent in December to 107. This follows a 0.5 percent increase in November and a 1.3 percent increase in October.

“The U.S. LEI continued rising rapidly in December, pointing to a continuation of strong economic growth in the first half of 2018. The passing of the tax plan is likely to provide even more tailwind to the current expansion,” says Ataman Ozyildirim, director of business cycles and growth research at The Conference Board. “The gains among the leading indicators have been widespread, with most of the strength concentrated in new orders in manufacturing, consumers’ outlook on the economy, improving stock markets and financial conditions.”

The Conference Board’s Coincident Economic Index (CEI), a measure of current economic activity, also increased in December, rising 0.3 percent to 102.8, following a 0.1 percent increase in November and a 0.4 percent increase in October. Its Lagging Economic Index, an indicator representing changes that come only after the economy has begun to follow a particular trend, ticked up 0.7 percent in December to 104, after an increase of 0.1 percent in November and a 0.3 percent increase in October.

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.

filed under January 2018
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