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The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the U.S. declined 0.1 percent in March to 94.7 (2004 = 100), following a 0.5 percent increase in February and a 0.5 percent increase in January. The Conference Board Coincident Index and the Conference Board Lagging Economic Index declined by 0.1 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.
Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at The Conference Board, said, “After three consecutive gains, the U.S. LEI dipped slightly in March, with equally balanced strengths and weaknesses among its components. The leading indicator still points to a continuing but slow growth environment. Weakness in consumer expectations and housing permits was offset by the positive interest rate spread and other financial components. Meanwhile, the coincident economic index, a measure of current conditions, is down since December due to a large decline in personal income.”
Economist Ken Goldstein said, “Data for March reflect an economy that has lost some steam. In addition to headwinds from government spending cuts, the private sector economy may struggle to maintain its momentum. The biggest challenge remains weak demand, due to nervous consumer sentiment and slow income growth.”
The CEI for the U.S. declined 0.1 percent in March to 105.2 (2004 = 100), following a 0.5 percent increase in February and a 1.1 percent decline in January.
The LAG increased 0.3 percent in March to 118.6 (2004 = 100), following no change in February and a 1.7 percent increase in January.