The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. witnessed a 0.5 percent decline in November 2023, dropping to 103.0 (2016=100) after a revised 1.0 percent decrease in October. The LEI exhibited a 3.5 percent contraction over the six months from May to November 2023, marking a lesser decline than the 4.3 percent drop recorded in the preceding six months, November 2022 to May 2023.
Justyna Zabinska-La Monica, Senior Manager of Business Cycle Indicators at The Conference Board, highlighted the persistent decline in the US LEI in November. Stock prices emerged as the sole positive contributor to the index, while housing and labor market indicators weakened, signaling areas of concern for the economy. The Leading Credit Index and manufacturing new orders remained largely unchanged, indicating a lack of immediate growth momentum. Despite the economy’s resilience, as evidenced by the US CEI and a rise in consumer confidence in December, the US LEI suggests an impending slowdown in economic activity. Consequently, The Conference Board anticipates a brief and mild recession in the first half of 2024.
In contrast, the Conference Board Coincident Economic Index (CEI) for the U.S. experienced a 0.2 percent uptick in November 2023, reaching 111.2 (2016=100) after no change in October. Over the six months from May to November 2023, the CEI recorded a 1.0 percent increase, compared to a 0.7 percent growth in the previous six months. The CEI comprises indicators like payroll employment, personal income excluding transfer payments, manufacturing and trade sales, and industrial production, all essential in identifying US recessions. November saw all four components of the CEI displaying positive trends, with personal income excluding transfer payments contributing the most, followed by smaller positive contributions from the other three components.