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The Conference Board U.S. Leading Economic Index Declines Again
Dec 22, 2008
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The Conference Board said that its Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators declined 0.4% in November, following a 0.9% decline in October, and no change in September.

According to Ken Goldstein, Economist at The Conference Board: "The economy has been in recession for a year and the latest indicator data show no sign of improvement in the first months of 2009. An intense housing downturn that's about to begin its fourth year and a severe financial crisis with nearly frozen credit markets have sharply lowered consumer and business expectations."

The leading index continued to fall in November, due mainly to large declines in building permits, stock prices, and initial unemployment claims, which offset the continued positive contributions from real money supply (M2) and the yield spread.

The coincident index also fell in November, driven by a very large contraction in employment and a smaller drop in industrial production. The lagging index rose slightly this month, and the coincident-to-lagging ratio decreased as a result (the ratio tends to have long leads in the business cycle). Since May, the coincident index has decreased 1.8% (a -3.5% annual rate), sharply faster than the decline of 0.4% (a -0.7% annual rate) from November 2007 to May 2008, while the weaknesses among its components have remained very widespread.

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