The composite index of leading economic indicators gained 1.4% in March, its 12th straight gain, surpassing economists’ estimates, the Conference Board reported yesterday.
The LEI increased a revised 0.4% in February, originally reported as a 0.1% rise.
The coincident index was up 0.1% in March after an unrevised 0.1% increase in February, while the lagging index rose 0.2% after a revised 0.1% jump in February, originally reported as a 0.3% hike.
The LEI stands at 109.6, the coincident index at 100.2, and the lagging index at 107.9.
Economists polled by Thomson Reuters predicted the LEI would be up 1.0% in the month.
“The U.S. LEI has risen steadily for a year now and it, and its six-month growth rate has remained fairly stable in recent months — led by improvements in financial and labor market indicators,” according to board economist Ataman Ozyildirim.
“Payroll employment made its first substantial contribution to the coincident economic index, suggesting a recovery that is beginning to gain traction,” he said.
“The indicators point to a slow recovery that should continue over the next few months,” said board economist Ken Goldstein,
“The leading, coincident, and lagging series are rising. Strength of demand remains the big question going forward. Improvement in employment and income will be the key factors in whether consumers push the recovery on a stronger path,” he added.