U.S. Leading Economic Index Accelerated Its Rise in March -- The Conference Board
By Xavier Fontdegloria
An economic index that measures U.S. business cycles increased
in March at a robust pace following a slight drop the previous
month, signaling that the economic recovery is gaining steam, data
from The Conference Board showed Thursday.
The Leading Economic index was 111.6 in March, up 1.3% compared
with February. The rise beats expectations from economists polled
by The Wall Street Journal, who forecast the indicator to increase
by 1%. In February, the index decreased by a marginal 0.1% compared
March's rise marks a significant bounce back from February's
fall, which came after nine consecutive months of gains. The
reading for March is the highest since August 2020, when the
economy experienced an initial rebound amid its first
"The U.S. LEI rose sharply in March, which more than offset
February's slightly negative revised figure," Conference Board
Senior Director of Economic Research Ataman Ozyildirim said.
The improvement in the index suggests economic momentum is
increasing in the near term and it is consistent with the economy
picking up in the coming months, he said.
The Conference Board Leading Economic Index is based on 10
components, among them initial claims for unemployment insurance,
manufacturers' new orders, building permits of new private housing
units, stock prices and consumers expectations. It is intended to
signal swings in the business cycle and to smooth out some of the
volatility of individual indicators. All 10 components contributed
positively to the index in March.
The widespread gains among the leading indicators are supported
by an accelerating vaccination campaign, gradual lifting of
mobility restrictions, as well as current and expected fiscal
stimulus, Mr. Ozyildirim said. The Conference Board projects that
year-over-year growth could reach 6% this year, he said.
The Coincident Economic Index rose 0.6% in March to 104.0, while
the Lagging Economic Index declined 0.5% to 105.1, the data from
The Conference Board showed.
Write to Xavier Fontdegloria at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 22, 2021 10:36 ET (14:36 GMT)
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