CB LEI: Fifth Consecutive Decline in July

The latest Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for July was down 0.4% from the June final figure of 117.1.

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI)for the U.S. decreased by 0.4 percent in July 2022 to 116.6 (2016=100), after declining by 0.7 percent in June. The LEI was down by 1.6 percent over the six-month period from January to July 2022, a reversal from its 1.6 percent growth over the previous six months.

“The US LEI declined for a fifth consecutive month in July, suggesting recession risks are rising in the near term,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director, Economics, The Conference Board. “Consumer pessimism and equity market volatility as well as slowing labor markets, housing construction, and manufacturing new orders suggest that economic weakness will intensify and spread more broadly throughout the US economy. The Conference Board projects the US economy will not expand in the third quarter and could tip into a short but mild recession by the end of the year or early 2023.” 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.