February 2019 Leading Economic Index Marginally Improved

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S marginally improved this month - and the authors say " the US LEI's growth rate has slowed over the past six months, suggesting that while the economy will continue to expand in the near-term, its pace of growth could decelerate by year-end".

Analyst Opinion of the Leading Economic Index

Because of the significant backward revisions, current data cannot be trusted.

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 +0.1 % to 0.2 % (consensus +0.1 %) versus the +0.2 % reported.

ECRI's Weekly Leading Index (WLI) is forecasting a slight contraction over the next six months.

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 0.2 percent in February to 111.5 (2016 = 100), following no change in January, and a 0.1 percent decline in December.

"The US LEI increased in February for the first time in five months," said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Economic Research at The Conference Board. "February's improvement was driven by accommodative financial conditions and a rebound in stock prices, which more than offset weaknesses in the labor market components. Despite the latest results, the US LEI's growth rate has slowed over the past six months, suggesting that while the economy will continue to expand in the near-term, its pace of growth could decelerate by year end."

The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for the U.S. increased 0.2 percent in February to 105.9 (2016 = 100), following a 0.1 percent increase in January, and a 0.4 percent increase in December.

LEI as an Economic Monitoring Tool:

The methodology for this index was "improved" in December 2011.

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