Conference Board

The Conference Board’s economic index of future business conditions increased 0.5% in December, to 124.6, based on improving sentiment about the U.S. economy, according to the Conference Board.

“The U.S. Leading Economic Index increased in December, suggesting the economy will continue growing at a moderate pace, perhaps even accelerating slightly in the early months of this year,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, director of business cycles and growth research at The Conference Board.

“December’s large gain .. suggests the business cycle still showed strong momentum in the final months of 2016.”

The 10 components of the Leading Economic Index are the following:

  • 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

The Conference Board’s index rose 0.1% in November 2016 and 0.2% in October.

The index was caught in a one-month up, one-month down trend for much of the summer of 2016. December’s 0.5% increase was the largest move since a 0.6% increase last April.

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