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The Conference Board's Leading Economic Index (LEI) is picking up steam.

After holding steady in March and inching up just 0.1% in February, the LEI jumped 0.6% in April with all components except consumer expectations contributing to the rebound.

“Despite a slow start in 2016, labor market and financial indicators, and housing permits all point to a moderate growth trend continuing in 2016,”said Ataman Ozyildirim, director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board

The LEI is basically a composite average of several individual indicators. It's 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 it smooths out some of the volatility of individual components.

The ten LEI components are:

  1. Average weekly hours, manufacturing
  2. Average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance
  3. Manufacturers’ new orders, consumer goods, and materials
  4. ISM Index of New Orders
  5. Manufacturers' new orders, nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders
  6. Building permits, new private housing units
  7. Stock prices, 500 common stocks
  8. Leading Credit Index
  9. Interest rate spread, 10-year Treasury bonds less federal funds
  10. Average consumer expectations for business conditions
Photo (c) Marzky Ragsac Jr. - Fotolia

Jobless claims

Initial jobless claims remained below 300,000 for a 63rd consecutive week in the week ending May 14, falling by 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 278,000. According to theDepartment of Labor (DOL), that's the longest streak since 1973.

The four-week moving average, considered by many economists to be a more accurate gauge of the labor market because it lacks the volatility of the weekly tally, was up was 7,500 -- to 275,750.

The complete report is available on the DOL website.

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