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Released: Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.3 percent in May to 95.8 (2004 = 100), following a 0.1 percent decline in April, and a 0.2 percent increase in March.

Says Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at The Conference Board: “The LEI rose in May, reversing the slight decline in April. Weakness in the average workweek in manufacturing, stock prices and consumer expectations kept the LEI from rising further. Its six-month growth rate remains in expansionary territory and well above its growth at the end of 2011, pointing to a relatively low risk of a downturn in the second half of 2012.”

Says Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board: “Economic data in general reflect a U.S. economy that is growing modestly, neither losing nor gaining momentum. The result is more of a muddle through. Continued headwinds, both domestic and foreign, make further strengthening of the economy difficult.”

The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for the U.S. increased 0.2 percent in May to 104.3 (2004 = 100), following a 0.2 percent increase in April, and no change in March.   

The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index® (LAG) increased 0.3 percent in May to 115.2 (2004 = 100), following a 0.6 percent increase in April, and a 0.3 percent increase in March.

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

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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.


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

Press Release
With graph and summary table

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