The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Conference Board Leading Economic Index Rises in December

Increase led by improvement in initial claims for unemployment insurance and positive contributions from interest rate spread and the LCI.

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the U.S. rose 0.5 percent in December, following no change in November and a 0.3 percent increase in October. The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index increased 0.2 percent, and the Conference Board Lagging Economic Index increased 0.7 percent.

“The U.S. LEI rose sharply in December, led by a large improvement in initial claims for unemployment insurance and positive contributions from the interest rate spread and the Leading Credit Index," says Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at The Conference Board. "The increase in the LEI brought its six-month growth rate well above zero, with roughly two-thirds of the components advancing in the last six months. However, consumer expectations and manufacturers' new orders remain weak.”

Says Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board: “The latest data suggest that a pickup in domestic growth is now more likely, compared to a few months ago. Housing, which has long been a drag, has turned into a positive for growth, and will help improve consumer balance sheets and strengthen consumption. However, for growth to gain more traction we also need to see better performance on new orders and an acceleration in capital spending.”

The CEI's 0.2 percent December increase to 104.9 follows a 0.5 percent increase in November and no change in October.

The LAG's 0.7 percent increase in December to 117.5 follows a 0.3 percent increase in November and a 0.3 percent increase in October.  

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