US Leading Economic Index falls in April, imminent re-opening won’t imply fast rebound


The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the US fell again in April after posting the largest decline in its 60-year history in March. And it does not appear the economy will rebound quickly despite states moving to open up after Covid-19 lockdowns.

“Business conditions may recover for some sectors and industries over the next few months,” said Bart van Ark, chief economist at The Conference Board, “But, the breadth and depth of the decline in the [Leading Economic Index] suggests that an imminent re-opening of some sectors does not imply a fast rebound for the economy at large.”

The Leading Economic Index fell 4.4% in April to a reading of 98.8. That follows a 7.4% decline in March.

“The erosion has been very widespread, except for stock prices and the interest rate spread, which partially reflect the rapid and large response of the Federal Reserve to offset the pandemic’s impact and support financial conditions,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, senior director of economic research at The Conference Board.  “The sharp declines in the [Leading Economic Index] and [Coincident Economic Index] suggest that the US economy is now in recession territory.”