Leading economic index increases for 24th staight month (1st time in 40 years)

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.4 percent in March to 114.1 (2004 = 100), following a 1.0 percent increase in February, and a 0.2 percent increase in January (see graph below).

Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at The Conference Board said: “The U.S. LEI continued to increase in March, pointing to strengthening business conditions in the near term. The March increase was led by the interest rate spread and housing permits components, while consumer expectations dropped. The U.S. CEI, a monthly measure of current economic conditions, also continued to rise, led by gains in industrial production and employment.”

Says Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board: “The U.S. LEI continues to point to sustained economic growth through year end. Global disruptions, including unrest in the Middle East, rising oil prices and the Japan earthquake, may have some repercussions. However, it remains to be seen what the impact of these shocks will be on the United States and the broader global economy.”

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