Global Business Cycle Indicators


Press Releases



Purchase Data

Press Release Archive

Released: Friday, May 17, 2013

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.6 percent in April to 95.0 (2004 = 100), following a 0.2 percent decline in March, and a 0.4 percent increase in February.

Says Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at The Conference Board: “After a slight decline in March, the U.S. LEI rebounded in April, led by housing permits and the interest rate spread. Labor market conditions also contributed, although consumers’ outlook on the economy remains weak. In general, the LEI points to a continuing economic expansion with some upside potential. Meanwhile, the CEI, a measure of current conditions, has returned to a slow growth path, despite declining industrial production in April.”

Says Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board: “The index is 3.5 percent higher (annualized) than six months ago, suggesting expansion. However, the biggest risk right now is the adverse impact of cuts in federal spending. The biggest positive factor is the potential for improvement in the recovering housing and labor markets. The biggest unknown is the resiliency in confidence, both consumer and business.”

The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for the U.S. increased 0.1 percent in April to 105.6 (2004 = 100), following a 0.2 percent increase in March, and a 0.5 percent increase in February.  

The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index® (LAG) increased 0.1 percent in April to 118.4 (2004 = 100), following a 0.2 percent increase in March, and no change 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:

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

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

The long-term trend rate of growth for the US economy is about 2 percent. The economy is growing faster than that that right now, perhaps 2.5 percent annualized and this faster pace could well continue through the first half of 2016.

Read the article