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Global Business Cycle Indicators


Press Release Archive

Released: Monday, June 16, 2003

The Conference Board announced today that the leading index for the U.K. decreased 0.3 percent, and the coincident index increased 0.1 percent in March.

  • The leading index declined moderately in April for the seventh consecutive month. April’s 0.1 percent drop, however, is the smallest during this period.
  • The main sources of the recent weakness, consumer confidence and stock prices (stock prices had actually declined for several years), both turned positive in April.
  • The coincident index, a measure of current economic conditions, continued to increase modestly. Rising employment, retail sales and household disposable income continue to help spur current economic activity. The recent weakness in the composite indexes has not been as deep as the declines typically associated with recessions.

Leading Indicators. Four of the nine components that make up the leading index decreased in April. The negative contributors – from the largest negative contributor to the smallest – are volume of expected output, order book volume, new orders for engineering industries*, and fixed interest price index. The three positive contributors to the index – beginning with the largest positive contributor - are stock prices, productivity for the whole economy*, and consumer confidence. Housing starts* and operating surplus of corporations* were unchanged in April.

With the 0.1 percent decline in April, the leading index now stands at 123.1 (1990=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.6 percent in March and decreased 0.3 percent in February. During the six-month span through April, the leading index decreased 1.8 percent with three of the nine components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 33.3 percent).

Coincident Indicators. All four components that make up the coincident index increased in April. Employment* was the largest contributor, followed by real household disposable income*, retail sales, and industrial production.

With a 0.1 percent increase in April, the coincident index now stands at 114.1 (1990=100). This index held steady in March and increased 0.3 percent in February. During the six-month period through April, the coincident index increased 0.5 percent, with three of the four components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 75 percent).

Data Availability. The data series used by The Conference Board to compute the two composite indexes reported in the tables in this release are those available “as of” 10 A.M. ET on June 13, 2003. Some series are estimated as noted below.

*Notes: Series in the leading index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are new orders in engineering industries, productivity of the whole economy, and operating surplus of corporations. Series in the coincident index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are employment and real household disposable income.