Short-Term Outlook Remains Bright, as Economy Continues to Build Momentum

NEW YORK, Jan. 23, 2015 —The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.5 percent in December to 121.1 (2010 = 100), following a 0.4 percent increase in November, and a 0.6 percent increase October.

“December’s gain in the LEI was driven by a majority of its components, suggesting the short-term outlook is getting brighter and the economy continues to build momentum,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Economist at The Conference Board. “Still, a lack of growth in residential construction and average weekly hours in manufacturing remains a concern. Current economic conditions measured by the coincident indicators show employment and income gains are helping to keep the U.S. economy on a solid expansionary path despite some weakness in industrial production.”

The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for the U.S. increased 0.2 percent in December to 111.4 (2010 = 100), following a 0.5 percent increase in November, and a 0.3 percent increase in October.

The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index® (LAG) for the U.S. increased 0.3 percent in December to 115.0 (2010 = 100), following a 0.3 percent increase in November, and no change in October.

About The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S.

The composite economic indexes are the key elements in an analytic system designed to signal peaks and troughs in the business cycle. The leading, coincident, and lagging economic indexes are essentially composite averages of several individual leading, coincident, or lagging indicators. They are constructed to summarize and reveal common turning point patterns in economic data in a clearer and more convincing manner than any individual component – primarily because they smooth out some of the volatility of individual components.

The ten components of The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® for the U.S. include:

– Average weekly hours, manufacturing

– Average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance

– Manufacturers’ new orders, consumer goods and materials

– ISM® Index of New Orders

– Manufacturers’ new orders, nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders

– Building permits, new private housing units

– Stock prices, 500 common stocks

– Leading Credit Index™
– Interest rate spread, 10-year Treasury bonds less federal funds

– Average consumer expectations for business conditions


For more information about The Conference Board global business cycle indicators:

NOTE: This month’s release incorporates annual benchmark revisions to the composite economic indexes, which bring them up-to-date with revisions in the source data. Also, with this benchmark revision, the base year of the composite indexes was changed to 2010 = 100 from 2004 = 100. These revisions do not change the cyclical properties of the indexes. The indexes are updated throughout the year, but only for the previous six months. Data revisions that fall outside of the moving six-month window are not incorporated until the benchmark revision is made and the entire histories of the indexes are recomputed. As a result, the revised indexes, in levels and month-on-month changes, will not be directly comparable to those issued prior to the benchmark revision.

About The Conference Board

The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world’s leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States.