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Global Business Cycle Indicators


Press Release Archive

Released: Wednesday, January 21, 2009

This month's release incorporates annual benchmark revisions to the composite economic indexes, which bring them up-to-date with revisions in the source data. Also, the base year of the composite economic indexes has been changed to 2004=100 from 1990=100. These revisions do not change the cyclical properties of the indexes. The indexes are updated throughout the year, but only for the previous six months. Data revisions that fall outside of the moving six-month window are not incorporated until the benchmark revision is made and the entire histories of the indexes are recomputed. As a result, the revised indexes will not be comparable to those issued prior to the benchmark revision.

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The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for France declined 1.4 percent and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index (CEI) decreased 0.2 percent in November.

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  • The Leading Economic Index declined sharply again in November as a result of a large decline in industrial new orders, followed by smaller declines in production expectations, new unemployment claims (inverted) and the stock price component. Between May and November, the leading index declined 4.9 percent (a -9.5 percent annual rate), which is below the 2.2 percent decline (a -4.3 percent annual rate) during the previous six months. In addition, the weaknesses among the leading indicators continue to remain widespread.
  • The Coincident Economic Index, a measure of current economic activity, also declined in November, the fourth decline in the last six months primarily as a result of falling industrial production and employment. During the last six months, the CEI declined by 0.7 percent (a -1.3 percent annual rate), well below the 0.2 percent rate of increase (a 0.4 percent annual rate) between November 2007 and May 2008. Furthermore, the weaknesses among the coincident indicators have become very widespread in recent months. Meanwhile, real GDP declined at a 0.4 percent average annual rate in the second and third quarter of 2008 (including a 0.5 percent annual rate of growth in the third quarter), well below the 1.5 percent average annual rate of growth during the previous two quarters.
  • The Leading Economic Index has been declining for more than a year while the weaknesses among its components have remained widespread during this period. Furthermore, the pace of decline has increased in recent months. The Coincident Economic Index began declining in February 2008, and its six-month change has remained slightly negative since June. The recent behavior of the composite indexes suggests that economic weakness is likely to continue into the first half of 2009 and that economic conditions could deteriorate further in the near term.

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LEADING INDICATORS. One of the seven components of the leading economic index increased in November. The yield spread was the only positive contributor. The negative contributors to the index — beginning with the largest negative contributor — are industrial new orders, production expectations, the inverted new unemployment claims, the stock price index, building permits (residential) and the ratio of the deflator of manufacturing value added to unit labor cost for manufacturing*.

With the decrease of 1.4 percent in November, the leading economic index now stands at 101.9 (2004=100). Based on revised data, the index declined 1.9 percent in October and declined 0.5 percent in September. During the six-month span through November, the leading index decreased 4.9 percent, and one of the seven components increased (diffusion index, six-month span equals 14.3 percent).

COINCIDENT INDICATORS. Two of the four components of the coincident economic index increased in November. The positive contributors to the index were wage and salaries* and personal consumption. Industrial production and employment* declined in November.

With the decrease of 0.2 percent in November, the coincident economic index now stands at 105.3 (2004=100). Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.2 percent in October and remained unchanged in September. During the six-month period through November, the coincident index decreased -0.7 percent, with one of the four series making a positive contribution (diffusion index, six-month span equals 25.0 percent).

DATA AVAILABILITY. The data series used by The Conference Board to compute The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for France and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index (CEI) for France reported in this release are those available "as of" 10 A.M. ET on January 15, 2009. Some series are estimated as noted below.

NOTES: Series in the leading economic index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are ratio deflator of manufacturing value added to unit labor cost in manufacturing. Series in the coincident economic index that are based on The Conference Board estimates are number of employees and wage and salaries.