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:
- 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
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.