CB LEI: Falls Again in May

The latest Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for May was down 0.4% from the April final figure of 118.8.

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI)for theU.S. decreased by 0.4 percent in May 2022 to 118.3 (2016 = 100), following a 0.4 percent decline in April 2022. The LEI is now down 0.4 percent over the six-month period from November 2021 to May 2022.

“The US LEI fell again in May, fueled by tumbling stock prices, a slowdown in housing construction, and gloomier consumer expectations,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director of Economic Research at The Conference Board. “The index is still near a historic high, but the US LEI suggests weaker economic activity is likely in the near term—and tighter monetary policy is poised to dampen economic growth even further.” More

Here is a log-scale chart of the LEI series with documented recessions as identified by the NBER. The use of a log scale gives us a better sense of the relative sizes of peaks and troughs than a more conventional linear scale.

Conference Board's LEI

For a better understanding of the relationship between the LEI and recessions, the next chart shows the percentage-off the previous peak for the index and the number of months between the previous peak and official recessions.