The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. Plummets in March
Largest Decline in Index’s 60-Year History
NEW YORK, April 17, 2020…The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. declined 6.7 percent in March to 104.2 (2016 = 100), following a 0.2 percent decrease in February, and a 0.4 percent increase in January.
“In March, the U.S. LEI registered the largest decline in its 60-year history,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director of Economic Research at The Conference Board. “The unprecedented and sudden deterioration was broad based, with the largest negative contributions coming from initial claims for unemployment insurance and stock prices. The sharp drop in the LEI reflects the sudden halting in business activity as a result of the global pandemic and suggests the U.S. economy will be facing a very deep contraction.”
The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for the U.S. decreased 0.9 percent in March to 106.6 (2016 = 100), following a 0.3 percent increase in February, and a 0.1 percent increase in January.
The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index® (LAG) for the U.S. increased 1.2 percent in March to 110.2 (2016 = 100), following a 0.3 percent increase in February, and a 0.1 percent decline in January.
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.