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The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. Increases Again

March 21, 2013

Index has Increased in Five of the Last Six Months

NEW YORK, March 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. rose 0.5 percent in February to 94.8 (2004 = 100), following a 0.5 percent increase in January, and a 0.4 percent increase in December.

Says Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at The Conference Board: “This month’s increase in the U.S. LEI – the third consecutive – was widespread and driven by a majority of its components. Even though consumer expectations and manufacturing new orders remain weak, the economy continues to expand slowly, and may be developing some resilience against headwinds from, for example, federal spending cuts due to improving residential construction and labor market conditions. Meanwhile, the U.S. CEI posted a small gain following January’s sharp drop due to a decline in personal income.”

Says Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board: “The U.S. economy is growing slowly now, and with this reading increases hope that it may pick up some momentum in the second half of the year. However, this latest report does not yet capture the recent effects of sequestration, which could dampen the pickup in GDP.”

The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for the U.S. increased 0.2 percent in February to 105.1 (2004 = 100), following a 1.0 percent decline in January, and a 0.9 percent increase in December.

The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index® (LAG) increased 0.1 percent in February to 118.0 (2004 = 100), following a 1.6 percent increase in January, and no change in December.

                                   Summary Table of Composite Economic Indexes
                                   -------------------------------------------

                                             2012               2013       6-month

                                       Dec                Jan                Feb

                                                                                        Aug to Feb

     Leading
     index                                 93.8 r             94.3 r             94.8 p

             Percent
             Change                          .4 r               .5 r               .5 p          2.3

            Diffusion                        60.0               50.0               80.0         80.0

     Coincident
     Index                                106.0 r            104.9 r            105.1 p

             Percent
             Change                          .9 r             -1.0 r               .2 p          1.0

            Diffusion                       100.0               62.5               87.5         75.0

     Lagging
     Index                                116.1 r            117.9 r            118.0 p

             Percent
             Change                          .0 r              1.6 r               .1 p          1.8

            Diffusion                        35.7               78.6               64.3         64.3

    n.a. Not available p Preliminary r Revised

    Indexes equal 100 in 2004

    Source: The Conference Board

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(TM)
Interest rate spread, 10-year Treasury bonds less federal funds
Average consumer expectations for business conditions

For full press release and technical notes:
http://www.conference-board.org/data/bcicountry.cfm?cid=1

For more information about The Conference Board global business cycle indicators:
http://www.conference-board.org/data/bci.cfm

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. www.conference-board.org

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Source: PR Newswire