Leading Indicators Turn Positive for US Economy

21 May 2003

The US economic outlook may be brightening slightly, judging by new economic data.

In its first positive movement this year, the closely watched index of leading indicators from New York research group the Conference Board rose 0.1% in April. The uplift follows falls of 0.2% in March and 0.5% in February.

Gauging prospects for the coming three to six months, the index was buoyed last month by the highest consumer expectations for four months and an increase in stock prices – both part of the post-war ‘Baghdad bounce’.

However, Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein preached caution. “While the economy is still growing and not losing momentum, growth is very slow and will be that way for at least a few more months,” he warned.

Five of the ten component indicators that make up the index registered an improvement last month, while four declined and one (new orders for consumer goods) stayed flat.

Data sourced from: New York Times; additional content by WARC staff