The Conference Board reported today that its Leading Economic Index (LEI) increased in January for the fourth consecutive month, reaching and index level of 94.9, the highest level since July of 2008, three and-a-half years ago (see chart above). The 0.4% increase in January followed a 0.5% increase in December.
From the report, Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at The Conference Board commented:
“This fourth consecutive gain in the LEI reflected fairly widespread strength among its components, pointing to somewhat more positive economic conditions in early 2012. The LEI’s increase in January was led not only by improving financial and credit indicators, but also rising average workweek in manufacturing. These both offset consumers’ outlook about the economy, which remained pessimistic, though slightly less so. Meanwhile, the Coincident Economic Index rose again in January as employment, income, and sales data all point to improving current economic conditions despite a lack of contribution from industrial production.”