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Released: Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. declined 0.1 percent in August to 95.7 (2004 = 100), following a 0.5 percent increase in July, and a 0.5 percent decline in June.  

Says Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at The Conference Board: “The U.S. LEI has declined in three of the last six months. While its six-month growth rate has slowed substantially, it still remains in growth territory due to positive contributions from the financial components including stock prices, yield spread and the Leading Credit Index. Over the last several months, the U.S. LEI seems to be fluctuating around a flat trend, while strengths and weaknesses among its components remain balanced. Meanwhile, the coincident economic index, a measure of current economic activity, edged up in August. The strengths among the coincident indicators have become less widespread, with three out of four components advancing over the past six months.”

Says Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board: “The economy continues to be buffeted by strong headwinds domestically and internationally. As a result, the pace of growth is unlikely to change much in the coming months. Weak domestic demand continues to be a major drag on the economy.”

The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for the U.S. increased 0.1 percent in August to 104.7 (2004 = 100), following a 0.3 percent increase in July, and a 0.2 percent decline in June.   

The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index® (LAG) increased 0.2 percent in August to 116.5 (2004 = 100), following a 0.3 percent increase in July, and a 0.3 percent increase in June.

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

Straight Talk November 2015

StraightTalk® Global Economic Outlook 2016: Escaping the Global Economy's Holding Pattern

US economy running faster than trend now and through at least first half 2016

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