US Leading Economic Index shows partial recovery, but recession remains


The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the US improved in May following a sharp decline over the previous three months.

The index rose 2.8% in May to a reading of 99.8; the increase follows declines of 6.1% in April and 7.5% in March.

“In May, the US LEI showed a partial recovery from its sharp decline over the previous three months, as economic activity began to pick up again,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, senior director of economic research at The Conference Board. “The relative improvement in unemployment insurance claims is responsible for about two-thirds of the gain in the index. 

The improvements in labor markets, housing permits, and stock prices also buoyed the Leading Economic Index, but new orders in manufacturing, consumers’ outlook on the economy, and the Leading Credit Index still point to weak economic conditions. “The breadth and depth of the decline in the LEI between February and April suggest the economy at large will remain in recession territory in the near term,” Ozyildirim said.