U.S. leading economic indicators for March rose +1.4% vs. +1.1% expected.
The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. increased 1.4 per cent in March, following a 0.4 per cent gain in February, and a 0.6 per cent rise in January. The U.S. LEI is now at its highest level.
Here it is, the all-time high:
Says Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at The Conference Board: “The U.S. LEI has risen steadily for a year, and its six-month growth rate has remained fairly stable in recent months — led by improvements in financial and labour market indicators. Payroll employment made its first substantial contribution to the coincident economic index, suggesting a recovery that is beginning to gain traction.”
Adds Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board: “The indicators point to a slow recovery that should continue over the next few months. The leading, coincident and lagging series are rising. Strength of demand remains the big question going forward. Improvement in employment and income will be the key factors in whether consumers push the recovery on a stronger path.”
The largest drivers were interest rate spread, rising manufacturing hours, supplier deliveries, and stock prices:
Seven of the 10 indicators that make up The Conference Board LEI for the U.S. increased in March. The positive contributors – beginning with the largest positive contributor – were the interest rate spread, average weekly manufacturing hours, the index of supplier deliveries (vendor performance), stock prices, building permits, average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance (inverted), and manufacturers’ new orders for consumer goods and materials*. The negative contributors – beginning with the largest negative contributor – were real money supply*, manufacturers’ new orders for nondefense capital goods* and the index of consumer expectations.
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