April 2021 Leading Economic Index Increased

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S increased by 1.6 percent in April to 113.3 (2016 = 100), following a 1.3 percent increase in March and a 0.1 percent decline in February - and the authors say "The Conference Board now forecasts real GDP could grow around 8 to 9 percent (annualized) in the second quarter, with year-over-year economic growth reaching 6.4 percent for 2021".

Analyst Opinion of the Leading Economic Index

Because of the significant backward revisions, the current values of this index cannot be trusted. My opinion is that the economy entered a recession in March 2020 but likely left the depression in June 2020 when the economy began to improve.

This index is designed to forecast the economy for six months in advance. The market (from Econoday) expected this index's month-over-month change at 0.9 % to 1.6 % (consensus 1.2 %) versus the reported change of 1.6 %

ECRI's Weekly Leading Index (WLI) is also improving.

Additional comments from the economists at The Conference Board add context to the index's behavior.

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for theU.S. increased by 1.6 percent in April to 113.3 (2016 = 100), following a 1.3 percent increase in March and a 0.1 percent decline in February.

"With April's large monthly gain to start the second quarter, the U.S. LEI has now recovered fully from its COVID-19 contraction—surpassing the index's previous peak, reached at the very onset of the global pandemic in January 2020," said Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director of Economic Research at The Conference Board. "While employment and production have not recovered to their pre-pandemic levels yet, the U.S. LEI suggests the economy's upward trend should continue and growth may even accelerate in the near term. The Conference Board now forecasts real GDP could grow around 8 to 9 percent (annualized) in the second quarter, with year-over-year economic growth reaching 6.4 percent for 2021."

The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for the U.S. increased by 0.3 percent in April to 104.1 (2016 = 100), following a 0.9 percent increase in March and a 0.7 percent decrease in February.

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