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Economic Data (USA)

Friday, April 17, 2020

Leading Economic Index for March 2020

The Conference Board® released its Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for March 2020 this morning:


Index for March: 104.2 (The baseline 100 score is associated with 2016 data.)


Predicted: -7.0%
  • Actual: -6.714% (-7.5 points)


  • LEI for February 2020: 111.7
  • LEI for January 2020: 111.9

  • LEI for December 2019: 111.4

  • LEI for November 2019: 111.5

  • LEI for October 2019: 111.4

  • LEI for September 2019: 111.6


The yellow-highlighted percentage is the month-to-month change for the index.  The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

The LEI is a composite of 10 of the nation's economic data releases that's put together by The Conference Board. Statistically, the components listed below have shown a significant increase or decrease before national economic upturns or downturns:

  1. The Standard + Poor's 500 Index

  2. Average weekly claims for unemployment insurance

  3. Building permits for new private housing

  4. The interest rate spread between the yield on the benchmark 10-Year Treasury Note and Federal Funds

  5. ISM® Index of New Orders

  6. Manufacturer's new orders for consumer goods or materials

  7. Manufacturers' new orders, nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders

  8. Average weekly manufacturing hours

  9. Average consumer expectations for business conditions

  10. Leading Credit Index™


Chart: Leading Economic Index - March 2020 Update
Chart: Leading Economic Index - March 2020 Update


From Today's Report:

"...Largest Decline in Index’s 60-Year History

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. declined 6.7 percent in March to 104.2 (2016 = 100), following a 0.2 percent decrease in February, and a 0.4 percent increase in January.

'In March, the US LEI registered the largest decline in its 60-year history,' said Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director of Economic Research at The Conference Board. 'The unprecedented and sudden deterioration was broad based, with the largest negative contributions coming from initial claims for unemployment insurance and stock prices. The sharp drop in the LEI reflects the sudden halting in business activity as a result of the global pandemic and suggests the US economy will be facing a very deep contraction.'..."



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