U.S. February 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. 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 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 increased 0.1 percent in February to 118.0 (2004 = 100), following a 1.6 percent increase in January, and no change in December.

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

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

For more information about The Conference Board global business cycle indicators: 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

The next release is scheduled for Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 10 A.M. ET

SOURCE: The Conference Board

Chris Middleton in Washington at +1-202-624-1993 or cmiddleton2@bloomberg.net

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