Leading Indicators Rise for 8th Month to 2-Yr. High
The Leading Economic Index (LEI) increased for the 8th straight month to 104.9, the highest level since the summer of 2007, and the first time in more than five years of 8-consecutive monthly increases (since early 2004).
The Conference Board LEI for the U.S. increased again in November. The interest rate spread, initial unemployment claims (inverted), average weekly hours and housing permits made large positive contributions to the index this month, more than offsetting negative contributions from the index of supplier deliveries and the index of consumer expectations. The six-month growth in the index has slowed somewhat in recent months -- to 4.7 percent (about a 9.6 percent annual rate) in the period through November, but it remains substantially higher than the increase of 1.2 percent (a 2.4 percent annual rate) from November 2008 to May 2009. In addition, the strengths among the leading indicators have remained widespread in recent months.