Leading Economic Indicators Head South in November
The Conference Board has released its reading on the Leading Economic Index for November. Despite the name, we have suggested for years that the “leading indicators” are not exactly very leading because so much of the data is known and it has a look back. Leading indicators fell by 0.2% in November to 95.8, but that was after a 0.3% increase in October and a 0.4% gain in September.
Today’s reading brings the six-month growth rate to zero, which shows elevated risks of slowing economic activity in the near term. Today’s reading also matched the Bloomberg consensus estimate of a 0.2% decline.
The coincident economic index aims to measure current conditions, and that reading did continue in its gains in November. The Conference Board also said that gains in the residential construction and financial components have been roughly balanced with weak consumer expectations, manufacturing new orders and labor market indicators over the past six months.
The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index rose 0.2% in November to 104.9, following a 0.1% increase in October and a 0.2% increase in September. The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index rose by 0.4% in November to 117.8, following a 0.3% increase in October and no change in September.
Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board, said, “The indicators reflect an economy that remains weak in the face of strong domestic and international headwinds, as it faces a looming fiscal cliff. Growth will likely be slow through the early months of 2013.”
JON C. OGG