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Released: Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. Increased in February
Robust Economic Growth to Continue Through 2018

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI)for theU.S. increased 0.6 percent in February to 108.7 (2016 = 100), following a 0.8 percent increase in January, and a 0.7 percent increase in December.

“The U.S. LEI rose again, despite a sharp downturn in stock markets and weakness in housing construction in February,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board. “The LEI points to robust economic growth throughout 2018. Its six-month growth rate has not been this high since the first quarter of 2011. While the Federal Reserve is on track to continue raising its benchmark rate for the rest of the year, the recent weakness in residential construction and stock prices – important leading indicators - should be monitored closely.”   

The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for the U.S. increased 0.3 percent in February to 103.3 (2016 = 100), following a 0.1 percent increase in January, and a 0.2 percent increase in December.  

The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index® (LAG) for the U.S. increased 0.4 percent in February to 104.3 (2016 = 100), following a 0.1 percent increase in January and a 0.6 percent increase in December.

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

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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. Winner of the Consensus Economics 2016 Forecast Accuracy Award (U.S.), The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States.

The next release is scheduled for Thursday, April 19 at 10 A.M. ET.

Professional Contacts at The Conference Board:

Indicator Program:

Media Contacts:

Carol Courter:
1 212 339 0232

Joseph DiBlasi:
1 781 308 7935

All data contained herein are protected by United States and international copyright laws. The data displayed are provided for informational purposes only and may only be accessed, reviewed, and/or used in with the permission accordance of The Conference Board consistent with a subscriber or license agreement and/or The Conference Board’s Terms of Use. Except as expressly permitted by The Conference Board or applicable law, the data and analysis contained herein may not be used, redistributed, republished, or reposted by any means.

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Technical Notes
Underlying detail, diffusion indexes, components, contributions and graphs

Press Release
With graph and summary table

Straight Talk March 2018

StraightTalk® Global Economic Outlook 2018: Back to the Old Normal?