Leading Economic Indicators Up 9th Straight Month

The Conference Board, New York, said its Leading Economic Index continued its upward trend in May, rising for the ninth consecutive month.

The Index rose by 0.3 percent in May to 127.0, following n 0.2 percent increase in April and an 0.4 percent increase in March. The Coincident Economic Index increased by 0.1 percent in May to 115.3; the Lagging Economic Index increased by 0.1 percent.

“The U.S. LEI continued on its upward trend in May, suggesting the economy is likely to remain on, or perhaps even moderately above, its long-term trend of about 2 percent growth for the remainder of the year,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research with The Conference Board. “The improvement was widespread among the majority of the leading indicators except for housing permits, which declined again. And, the average workweek in manufacturing has recently shown no sign of improvement.”

Tim Quinlan, senior economist with Wells Fargo Securities, Charlotte, N.C., noted eight of the nine components recorded gains–only building permits lagged.

“Building permits was the only component that weighed on the index, shaving off 0.15 percentage points from the topline figure,” Quinlan said. “This is consistent with housing starts data for May, in which both single-family and multifamily starts declined.”