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Classified in: Business
Subjects: NPT, ECO

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. Fell in March


NEW YORK, April 18, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. decreased by 0.3 percent in March 2024 to 102.4 (2016=100), after increasing by 0.2 percent in February. Over the six-month period between September 2023 and March 2024, the LEI contracted by 2.2 percent?a smaller decrease than the 3.4 percent decline over the previous six months.

"February's uptick in the U.S. LEI proved to be ephemeral as the Index posted a decline in March," said Justyna Zabinska-La Monica, Senior Manager, Business Cycle Indicators, at The Conference Board. "Negative contributions from the yield spread, new building permits, consumers' outlook on business conditions, new orders, and initial unemployment insurance claims drove March's decline. The LEI's six-month and annual growth rates remain negative, but the pace of contraction has slowed. Overall, the Index points to a fragile?even if not recessionary?outlook for the U.S. economy. Indeed, rising consumer debt, elevated interest rates, and persistent inflation pressures continue to pose risks to economic activity in 2024. The Conference Board forecasts GDP growth to cool after the rapid expansion in the second half of 2023. As consumer spending slows, US GDP growth is expected to moderate over Q2 and Q3 of this year."

The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for the U.S. rose by 0.3 percent in March 2024 to 112.0 (2016=100), after a 0.1 percent increase in February. As a result, the CEI rose by 0.6 percent over the six-month period ending March 2024, down from a 0.9 percent increase over the previous six months. The CEI's component indicators?payroll employment, personal income less transfer payments, manufacturing and trade sales, and industrial production?are included among the data used to determine recessions in the US. All four components of the index improved last month. Industrial production and personal income less transfer payments made the largest positive contributions to the Index.

The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index® (LAG) for the U.S. was unchanged in March 2024 at 119.0 (2016 = 100), after a 0.3 percent increase in February. The LAG is up by 1.0 percent over the six-month period from September 2023 to March 2024, after recording no growth over the previous six months.

Summary Table of Composite Economic Indexes





2024




6-Month


January

February

March

Sep to Mar

  Leading Index

102.5

r

102.7

r

102.4

p



 Percent Change

-0.5

r

0.2

r

-0.3


-2.2


 Diffusion

20.0


70.0


50.0


35.0


  Coincident Index

111.6

r

111.7

r

112.0

p



 Percent Change

-0.3

r

0.1

r

0.3


0.6


 Diffusion

50.0


75.0


100.0


75.0


  Lagging Index

118.7

r

119.0

r

119.0

p



 Percent Change

0.6

r

0.3


0.0


1.0


 Diffusion

50.0


50.0


28.6


35.7


 p Preliminary   r Revised   c Corrected

Source:  The Conference Board

Indexes equal 100 in 2016




 

The next release is scheduled for Friday, May 17, 2024, at 10 A.M. ET.

About The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. 
The composite economic indexes are the key elements in an analytic system designed to signal peaks and troughs in the business cycle. The indexes are constructed to summarize and reveal common turning points in the economy in a clearer and more convincing manner than any individual component. The CEI is highly correlated with real GDP. The LEI is a predictive variable that anticipates (or "leads") turning points in the business cycle by around 7 months. Shaded areas denote recession periods or economic contractions. The dates above the shaded areas show the chronology of peaks and troughs in the business cycle.

The ten components of The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® for the U.S. include: Average weekly hours in manufacturing; Average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance; Manufacturers' new orders for consumer goods and materials; ISM® Index of New Orders; Manufacturers' new orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders; Building permits for new private housing units; S&P 500® Index of Stock Prices; Leading Credit Indextm; Interest rate spread (10-year Treasury bonds less federal funds rate); Average consumer expectations for business conditions.

To access data, please visit: https://data-central.conference-board.org/

About The Conference Board
The Conference Board is the member-driven think tank that delivers Trusted Insights for What's Aheadtm. Founded in 1916, we are a non-partisan, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States. ConferenceBoard.org

SOURCE The Conference Board


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