Leading Economic Index Advances Again: Recovery Remains on Track

by: Mark J. Perry

The Conference Board reported Thursday that its Leading Economic Index (LEI) increased again in March (see chart). It is the 24th consecutive monthly increase, starting in April 2009, just before the recession officially ended in June of that year. The last time the Leading Economic Index increased every month for a two-year period was in the early 1970s, almost 40 years ago.

Says Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at The Conference Board:

The U.S. LEI continued to increase in March, pointing to strengthening business conditions in the near term. The March increase was led by the interest rate spread and housing permits components, while consumer expectations dropped. The U.S. CEI, a monthly measure of current economic conditions, also continued to rise, led by gains in industrial production and employment.

Says Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board:

The U.S. LEI continues to point to sustained economic growth through year end. Global disruptions, including unrest in the Middle East, rising oil prices and the Japan earthquake, may have some repercussions. However, it remains to be seen what the impact of these shocks will be on the United States and the broader global economy.

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