The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the United States increased 0.3% in October, following a 1.0% gain in September, and a 0.4% rise in August.
According to the Conference Board, the nation’s interest rate spread, initial unemployment claims (inverted) and stock prices contributed positively to the index this month, more than offsetting declines in consumer expectations, residential building permits and the index of supplier deliveries.
The six-month change in the index stands at 5% (a 10.2% annual rate) for the period through October 2009, up from -0.7% (a -1.4% annual rate) for the previous six months. In addition, the strengths among the leading indicators have remained widespread in recent months.
“After half a year of consecutive increases, the month-to-month growth of the LEI is stabilizing and the gains continue to be broad-based,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at The Conference Board. “Meanwhile, the coincident economic index has been essentially flat since June, after declining since November 2007. The composite indexes suggest the recovery is unfolding and economic activity should continue improving in the near term.”
Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board, added, “The data indicates that economic recovery is finally setting in. We can expect slow growth through the first half of 2010. The pace of growth, however, will depend critically on how much demand picks up, and how soon.”