Uptick in Leading Economic Indicators in September

Jon C. Ogg

Of the economic reports released on Thursday, one of the reports was the  Conference Board Leading Economic Index. This was a U.S. reading showing a 0.2% gain in September to 124.4. This follows a 0.2% decline in August and follows a 0.5% gain in July.

Investors might assume that the “leading” portion of the name means that this live data, but there is a one-month lookback on the data. It should also be known that much of the data inside this monthly release is also already known with much of it being previewed by individual releases in the prior days and weeks.

The Conference Board’s Coincident Economic Index rose by 0.2% in September to 114.2, following no change in August and a 0.3%gain in July. The Lagging Economic Index rose by 0.2% in September to 122.3 after a 0.2% gain in August and no change in July.

Building permits showed gains in single-family homes and in multi-family units. Another gain was due to a drop in unemployment claims. Two issues which acted as a drag on the gain were a decline in the factory work week and a drop in the stock market.

Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board, said:

The U.S. LEI increased in September, reversing its August decline, which together with the pickup in the six-month growth rate suggests that the economy should continue expanding at a moderate pace through early 2017. Housing permits, unemployment insurance claims, and the interest rate spread were the main components lifting the index in September. Overall, the strengths among the leading indicators are outweighing modest weaknesses in stock prices and the average workweek.