An index of leading indicators of the nation's economic health rose in September for the sixth consecutive month. The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) gained 1% in September on the heals of a 0.4% gain in August and a 1% rise in July.
"With the sixth consecutive increase, the LEI's six-month growth rate has improved to its highest pace since 1983," says Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at The Conference Board. "Except for average workweek and building permits, all the leading indicators contributed positively to the index this month."
The Conference Board U.S. Coincident Economic Index (CEI) was unchanged in September, following a 1% increase in both August and July.
"The LEI has risen for six consecutive months and the coincident economic index has increased in two of the last three months," explains Ken Goldstein, also an economist for The Conference Board. "These numbers strongly suggest that a recovery is developing. However, the intensity of that recovery will depend on how much, and how soon, demand picks up."
The Conference Board Index of lagging economic indicators declined 0.3% in September, continuing a pattern of small declines in August (0.2%) and July (0.6%). Lagging indicators are generally considered to be important to confirm that a shift or pattern is occurring or about to occur.
Unemployment, a closely-watched lagging indicator, has continue downward, even as other indicators have risen. This has dampened some expectations about the recovery which appears to be underway and caused many economists to caution that slow growth with some periods of backsliding may persist for many months.