The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.3% in January, following a 1.2% gain in December, and a 1.1% rise in November.
“The U.S. LEI has risen steadily for nearly a year, led by an improvement in financial markets and a manufacturing upturn,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at The Conference Board. “Consumer expectations and housing permits have also contributed to these gains over this period, but to a lesser extent— especially in recent months.”
He noted that current economic conditions, as measured by The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index (CEI), have also improved modestly since July 2009, helped by strengthening industrial production, despite continued weakness in employment.
Conference Board officials noted that the LEI’s gains over the past six months of 9.8% annualized signals continued economic recovery at least through the spring.