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Released: Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. declined 0.1 percent in April to 95.5 (2004 = 100), following a 0.3 percent increase in March, and a 0.7 percent increase in February.

Says Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at The Conference Board: “The LEI declined slightly in April. Falling housing permits, rising initial claims for unemployment insurance and subdued consumer expectations offset small gains in the remaining components. The LEI’s six-month growth rate fell slightly, but remains in expansionary territory and well above its growth at the end of 2011. The CEI, a measure of current economic conditions, has also increased for five consecutive months.”

Says Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board: “The indicators reflect an economy that’s still struggling to gain momentum. Growth is slow, but choppy, and consumers, executives and investors are looking for more progress.”

The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index®(CEI) for the U.S. increased 0.2 percent in April to 104.3 (2004 = 100), following a 0.2 percent increase in March, and a 0.1 percent increase in February.

The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index® (LAG) increased 0.5 percent in April to 114.9 (2004 = 100), following a 0.3 percent increase in March, and a 0.2 percent increase in February.

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 leading, coincident, and lagging economic indexes are essentially composite averages of several individual leading, coincident, or lagging indicators. They 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 ten components of The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® for the U.S. include:

Average weekly hours, manufacturing

Average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance

Manufacturers’ new orders, consumer goods and materials

ISM Index of New Orders

Manufacturers' new orders, nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders

Building permits, new private housing units

Stock prices, 500 common stocks

Leading Credit Index™

Interest rate spread, 10-year Treasury bonds less federal funds

Average consumer expectations for business conditions

For full press release and technical notes:
www.conference-board.org/data/bcicountry.cfm?cid=1

For more information about The Conference Board global business cycle indicators:
www.conference-board.org/data/bci.cfm

About The Conference Board

The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world’s leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States.
www.conference-board.org

THESE DATA ARE FOR ANALYSIS PURPOSES ONLY. NOT FOR REDISTRIBUTION, PUBLISHING, DATABASING, OR PUBLIC POSTING WITHOUT EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION.

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From the Chief Economist

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