The composite index of leading economic indicators surged 1.2% in May, the Conference Board reported today.

LEI increased a revised 1.1% in April, originally reported as a 1.0% rise.

The coincident index slid 0.2% after a revised 0.3% drop in April, originally reported as a 0.2% decrease, while the lagging index fell 0.2% after an 0.8% decline in April, originally reported as a 0.5% drop.

LEI stands at 100.2, the coincident index is 100.7 and the lagging index is at 112.0.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters predicted LEI would be up 0.9% in the month.

“The leading economic index increased for the second consecutive month,” said Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein. “The coincident economic index is still declining, but the declines are less intense. The recession is losing steam. Confidence is rebuilding and financial market volatility is abating. Even the housing market appears to be stabilizing. If these trends continue, expect a slow recovery beginning before the end of the year. However, employment will take longer to turn around.”

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