US leading economic index declines in April, still points to impending downturn


The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the US edged down 0.6% in April to 107.5 (2016=100). April’s decrease follows a decline of 1.2% in March and continues to point to an economic downturn.

“The LEI for the US declined for the 13th consecutive month in April, signaling a worsening economic outlook,” said Justyna Zabinska-La Monica, senior manager of business cycle indicators at The Conference Board. “Weaknesses among underlying components were widespread — but less so than in March’s reading, which resulted in a smaller decline. Only stock prices and manufacturers’ new orders for both capital and consumer goods improved in April.”

The LEI is down 4.4% over the six months between October 2022 and April 2023 — a steeper rate of decline than its 3.8% contraction over the previous six-month period between April and October 2022.

Zabinska-La Monica noted the LEI continues to warn of an economic downturn this year.

“The Conference Board forecasts a contraction of economic activity starting in Q2, leading to a mild recession by mid-2023,” Zabinska-La Monica said.