The Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators (LEI) increased 1.4% in March, following smaller gains in February and January. The increase suggests that economic activity will strengthen in the next three to six months.
“The indicators point to a slow recovery that should continue over the next few months,” Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board, said in statement. “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.”
It was the twelfth consecutive month of steady increases since March 2009, when the index was at its low during the recession. Seven of the 10 LEIs were positive: the interest rate spread, average weekly manufacturing hours, index of supplier deliveries, stock prices, building permits, average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance, and manufacturers’ new orders for consumer goods and materials.
“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 labor market indicators,” said Ataman Ozyildirim in a statement, economist at The Conference Board, referring to the 162,000 jobs added in March.
Read the Conference Board’s report.