Conference Board's index of US leading economic indicators increased 0.1% in December from November to 99.4; index 'continues to point to gradually strengthening economic conditions through early 2014,' says Conference Board economist

NEW YORK , January 23, 2014 (press release) – This month's release incorporates annual benchmark revisions to the composite economic indexes, which bring them up-to-date with revisions in the source data. These revisions do not change the cyclical properties of the indexes. The indexes are updated throughout the year, but only for the previous six months. Data revisions that fall outside of the moving six-month window are not incorporated until the benchmark revision is made and the entire histories of the indexes are recomputed. As a result, the revised indexes, in levels and month-on-month changes, will not be directly comparable to those issued prior to the benchmark revision.

For more information, please visit our website at http://www.conference-board.org/data/bci.cfm or contact us at indicators@conference-board.org.

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The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.1 percent in December to 99.4 (2004 = 100), following a 1.0 percent increase in November, and a 0.1 percent increase in October.

“Despite month-to-month volatility in the final quarter of 2013, the U.S. LEI continues to point to gradually strengthening economic conditions through early 2014,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Economist at The Conference Board. “The LEI was lifted by its financial components in December, but consumer expectations for business conditions and residential construction continue to pose risks.”

“This latest report suggests steady growth this spring, but some uncertainties remain,” said Ken Goldstein, Economist at The Conference Board. “Business caution and concern about unresolved federal budget battles persist, but the better-than-expected holiday season might point to sustained stronger demand and could put the U.S on a faster growth track for 2014.”

The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for the U.S. increased 0.2 percent in December to 108.1 (2004 = 100), following a 0.4 percent increase in November, and a 0.1 percent increase in October.

The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index® (LAG) for the U.S. increased 0.3 percent in December to 121.2 (2004 = 100), following no change in November, and a 0.3 percent rise in October.

About The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S.

The composite economic indexes are the key elements in an analytic system designed to signal peaks and troughs in the business cycle. The leading, coincident, and lagging economic indexes are essentially composite averages of several individual leading, coincident, or lagging indicators. They are constructed to summarize and reveal common turning point patterns in economic data in a clearer and more convincing manner than any individual component – primarily because they smooth out some of the volatility of individual components.

The ten components of The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® for the U.S. include:

Average weekly hours, manufacturing
Average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance
Manufacturers’ new orders, consumer goods and materials
ISM Index of New Orders
Manufacturers' new orders, nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders
Building permits, new private housing units
Stock prices, 500 common stocks
Leading Credit Index™
Interest rate spread, 10-year Treasury bonds less federal funds
Average consumer expectations for business conditions

For full press release and technical notes:
www.conference-board.org/data/bcicountry.cfm?cid=1

For more information about The Conference Board global business cycle indicators:
www.conference-board.org/data/bci.cfm

About The Conference Board

The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world’s leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States. www.conference-board.org

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