The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the U.S. increased 1.1% in November to 112.4, following a 0.4% increase in October and a 0.6% increase in September.
The index is based on 10 components: average weekly hours in the manufacturing sector, average weekly initial unemployment claims, new manufacturing orders for consumer goods and materials, deliveries to suppliers, manufacturing order for non-defense capital goods, building permits for new private housing, prices of 500 common stocks, the M2 real money supply, the interest rate spread between 10-year Treasury bonds and federal funds, and, finally, the index of consumer expectations.
“November’s sharp increase in the Leading Economic Index, the fifth consecutive gain, is an early sign that the expansion is gaining momentum and spreading,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, an economist with The Conference Board. “Nearly all components rose in November. Continuing strength in financial indicators is now joined by gains in manufacturing and consumer expectations, but housing remains weak.”
Ken Goldstain, another economist with The Conference Board, agreed that the economy is showing improvement, but had a more muted outlook, calling the “sparks of life” in the economy “mild” and warning that housing and employment still need to improve.