The Conference Board US Leading Economic Index Continues to Decline in May

The Conference Board, a non-partisan, not-for-profit think tank founded in 1916, released on Friday its US Leading Indicators for May.

  • The Leading Economic Index® (LEI) decreased 0.5% to a reading of 101.2 (2016=100) in May, following a 0.6% decrease in April. The LEI has contracted 2.0% over the six-month period from November 2023 to May 2024, a smaller decrease than the 3.4% contraction over the previous six-month period.
  • The Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) rose 0.4% to a reading of 112.4 (2016=100) in May, after a 0.1% increase in April. The CEI is now up 0.6% over the six-period ending in May, down 1.0% from the previous six-month period. The CEI’s component indicators—payroll employment, personal income less transfer payments, manufacturing trade and sales, and industrial production—are included among the data used to determine recessions in the US. In May, all four components advanced, with industrial production the strongest contribution to the Index.
  • The Lagging Economic Index® (LAG) declined 0.1% to a reading of 119.4 (2016=100) in May, after increasing 0.3% in April. The LAG has increased 0.7% over the six-month period from November 2023 to May 2024, down from 0.8% over the previous 6-month period.

Adding background and her analysis to the report, Senior Manager, Business Cycle Indicators at the Conference Board, Justyna Zabinska-La Monica, said:

“The LEI fell again in May, driven primarily by a decline in new orders, weak consumer sentiment about future business conditions and lower building permits. While the Index’s six-month growth rate remained firmly negative, the LEI doesn’t currently signal a recession. We project real GDP growth will slow further to under 1% (annualized) over Q2 and Q3, as elevated inflation and high interest rates continue to weigh on consumer spending.”

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