Friday, April 23, 2021
The economic reacceleration is underway in the U.S., as the expanding vaccination campaign, lifting of mobility restrictions, and infusion of fiscal stimulus combined to lift the Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index (LEI) in March. The LEI grew 1.3% month over month, ahead of Bloomberg consensus forecasts of 1%, raising the Conference Board’s gross domestic product (GDP) expectations to 6% on a year-over-year basis.
After a weaker-than-expected February release that was primarily disrupted by the winter storm, data in March snapped back in a strong fashion. All ten components of the LEI rose in March, while jobless claims were the largest contributor to the growth of the index. Labor market data has continued to improve since the measurement period, as weekly jobless claims have posted back-to-back pandemic lows. The ISM New Orders Index was the second largest contributor to the LEI, which climbed to its highest levels since 2004.
The Conference Board revised the February data lower, however, snapping what was a 10-month streak of growth for the index. As shown in the LPL Chart of the Day, the LEI is back on the rise, suggesting further economic momentum in the coming months: