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Released: Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.5 percent in July to 115.8 (2004 = 100), following a 0.3 percent increase in June, and a 0.7 percent increase in May. The largest positive contributions came from money supply, the interest rate spread, and average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance (inverted).

Says Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at The Conference Board: “The U.S. LEI continued to increase in July. However, with the exception of the money supply and interest rate components, other leading indicators show greater weakness – consistent with increasing concerns about the health of the economic expansion. Despite rising volatility, the leading indicators still suggest economic activity should be slowly expanding through the end of the year.”

Says Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board: “The economy is slow, with little momentum, and shows no indication of acceleration. The gains in the LEI are modest, especially the nonfinancial indicators. Despite these growing risks, the economy should continue to expand at a modest pace through the fall.”

The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for the U.S. increased 0.3 percent in July to 103.3 (2004 = 100), following a 0.1 percent increase in June, and a 0.1 percent increase in May. Three of the four coincident indicators advanced over the past six months.

The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index® (LAG) increased 0.2 percent in July to 110.0 (2004 = 100), following a 0.4 percent increase in June, and a 0.4 percent increase in May.

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

Index of supplier deliveries – vendor performance

Manufacturers' new orders, nondefense capital goods

Building permits, new private housing units

Stock prices, 500 common stocks

Money supply, M2

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

Index of consumer expectations


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For more information about The Conference Board global business cycle indicators:


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.


Download related PDFs

Technical Notes
Underlying detail, diffusion indexes, components, contributions and graphs

Press Release
With graph and summary table

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