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Leading Economic Index for US suggests ‘solid’ growth, but no acceleration

May 17, 2018

The Conference Board’s US Leading Economic Index edged up 0.4% in April to a reading of 109.4 (2016 = 100), following increases of 0.4% in March and 0.7% in February.

April’s increase and continued uptrend in the US Leading Economic Index suggest solid growth should continue in the second half of 2018, according to Ataman Ozyildirim, director of business cycles and growth research at The Conference Board.

“However, the LEI’s six-month growth rate has recently moderated somewhat, suggesting growth is unlikely to strongly accelerate,” Ozyildirim said. “In April, stock prices and housing permits were the only negative contributors, whereas the labor market components, which made negative contributions in March, improved.”

Separately, the US Department of Labor reported the US four-week moving average of initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to 213,250 last week, down 2,750 from the previous week’s unrevised average. This is the lowest level for this average since Dec. 13, 1969, when it was 210,750.

The four-week moving average decreases the volatility of the weekly numbers. Total initial claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended May 12 rose to 220,000, up 11,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level.

MarketWatch reported claims can gyrate in some states at the end of the school year when employment in education fluctuates. Economic expansion appears all but certain to become the longest ever if it carries on as expected for another year, MarketWatch reported.

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