U.S. March Leading Economic Indicators (Text)

Following is the text of the U.S. leading economic indicators from the Conference Board.

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the U.S. increased 0.3 percent in March to 95.7 (2004 = 100), following a 0.7 percent increase in February, and a 0.2 percent increase in January.

Says Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at The Conference Board: “The LEI increased for the sixth consecutive month, pointing to a more positive outlook despite subdued consumer expectations and weakness in manufacturing new orders. Moreover, the six- month growth rate of the LEI continues to improve. The CEI, a measure of current economic conditions, has also increased in five of the last six months, with broad based gains in all components.”

Says Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board: “Despite relatively weak data on jobs, home building and output in the past month or two, the indicators signal continued economic momentum. We expect a gradual improvement in growth past the summer months.”

The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index for the U.S. increased 0.2 percent in March to 104.2 (2004 = 100), following a 0.2 percent increase in February, and a 0.1 percent increase in January.

The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index increased 0.3 percent in March to 114.4 (2004 = 100), following a 0.1 percent increase in February, and a 0.6 percent increase in January.

About The Conference Board Leading Economic Index 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

The next release is scheduled for Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 10 A.M. ET

SOURCE: The Conference Board

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