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Economic Data (USA)

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Leading Economic Index for April 2021

The Conference Board® released its Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for April 2021 this morning:


Index for April 2021: 113.3 (The baseline 100 score is associated with 2016 data.)


Predicted: +2.0%
  • Actual: +1.614% (+1.8 points)


  • LEI for March 2021: 111.5

  • LEI for February 2021: 110.1
  • LEI for January 2021: 110.2

  • LEI for December 2020: 109.6

  • LEI for November 2020: 109.2

  • LEI for October 2020: 108.2


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 - April 2021 Update
Chart: Leading Economic Index - April 2021 Update


Chart: Leading Economic Index - Six-Month Growth April 2021 Update
Chart: Leading Economic Index - Six-Month Growth
April 2021 Update

From Today's Report:

"...'With April’s large monthly gain to start the second quarter, the U.S. LEI has now recovered fully from its COVID-19 contraction—surpassing the index’s previous peak, reached at the very onset of the global pandemic in January 2020,' said Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director of Economic Research at The Conference Board. 'While employment and production have not recovered to their pre-pandemic levels yet, the U.S. LEI suggests the economy’s upward trend should continue and growth may even accelerate in the near term. The Conference Board now forecasts real GDP could grow around 8 to 9 percent (annualized) in the second quarter, with year-over-year economic growth reaching 6.4 percent for 2021.'..."



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