The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the U.S. Increased in March
The Conference Board (04/21/2014)
The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the U.S. increased 0.8% in March to 100.9, following a 0.5% increase in February and a 0.2% increase in January. “The LEI rose sharply again, the third consecutive monthly increase,” says Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at the Conference Board. “After a winter pause, the leading indicators are gaining momentum and economic growth is gaining traction. While the improvements were broad-based, labor market indicators and the interest rate spread largely drove the March increase, offsetting the negative contribution from building permits.”
“The March increase in the LEI suggests accelerated growth for the remainder of the spring and the summer,” says Ken Goldstein, economist at the Conference Board. “The economy is rebounding from widespread inclement weather and the strengthening in the labor market is beginning to have a positive impact on growth.”
Sluggish Economic Recovery Proves Resilient
Wall Street Journal (04/20/14) Josh Zumbrun
The economic recovery began in June 2009, but nearly five years later, the recovery has proven to be lackluster, with the 6.7% jobless rate a record high at this stage of recent economic expansion and growth in the gross domestic product at just half the pace of the previous three expansions. U.S. Federal Reserve officials expect growth through at least 2016, which would make it the fourth-longest expansion since the Civil War, while the Congressional Budget Office expects growth to occur through at least 2017, or as long as the booms in the 1960s and 1990s. Economists have offered various explanations for the slow recovery, from the uncertainty resulting from tax increases, debt, and regulations to the continuing effects of the 2007-09 financial crisis to slow growth in the labor force and productivity at a time of reduced consumption and increased savings.
Business Economists See Brighter Outlook for Job Growth
Wall Street Journal (04/21/14) Eric Morath
Forty-three percent of corporate economists expect their firm or industry to increase hiring over the next two quarters, the highest number since July 2011, according to a National Association for Business Economics poll. Eight percent expect that businesses will reduce hiring over the same time period. Thirty percent of economists in the service sector expect greater hiring compared with two-thirds in goods-producing businesses.
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