U.S. Economy Expected To Grow Through Year's End
The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index (LEI) points toward solid economic growth continuing through 2018, as it increased 0.4 percent in April to 109.4, following a 0.4 percent increase in March and a 0.7 percent increase in February.
"April's increase, and the continued upward trend in the U.S. LEI, suggest solid growth should continue in the second half of 2018. However, the LEI's six-month growth rate has recently moderated somewhat, suggesting growth is unlikely to strongly accelerate," says Ataman Ozyildirim, director of business cycles and growth research at The Conference Board. "In April, stock prices and housing permits were the only negative contributors, whereas the labor market components, which made negative contributions in March, improved."
The Conference Board’s Coincident Economic Index (CEI), a measure of current economic activity, also increased in April, rising 0.3 percent to 103.5, following a 0.2 percent increase in March and a 0.2 percent increase in February. Its Lagging Economic Index, an indicator representing changes that come only after the economy has begun to follow a particular trend, ticked up 0.3 percent in April to 104.7, after an increase of 0.1 percent in March and a 0.3 percent increase in February.
The Conference Board’s indexes are composites of leading, coincident and lagging economic indicators designed to highlight peaks and troughs in the business cycle that could be obscured by volatility within individual components. The LEI is comprised of 10 indicators: average weekly hours; manufacturing; average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance; manufacturers’ new orders for consumer goods and materials; the Institute of Supply Management Index of New Orders; manufacturers' new orders of nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders; building permits for new private housing units; stock prices for 500 common stocks; the Leading Credit Index; the interest rate spread for 10-year Treasury bonds less federal funds; and average consumer expectations for business conditions.