U.S. Leading Economic Index Shows Another Steep Drop In April

Suggesting the U.S. economy is now in recession territory, the Conference Board released a report on Thursday showing a continued nosedive by its reading on leading economic indicators.

The Conference Board said its leading economic index tumbled by 4.4 percent in April after plunging by a revised 7.4 percent in March.

Economists had expected the index to plummet by 5.9 percent compared to the 6.7 percent slump originally reported for the previous month.

“In April, the US LEI continued on a downward trajectory, after posting the largest decline in its 60-year history in March,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director of Economic Research at The Conference Board.

He added, “The erosion has been very widespread, except for stock prices and the interest rate spread which partially reflect the rapid and large response of the Federal Reserve to offset the pandemic’s impact and support financial conditions.

The report said the coincident economic index cratered by 8.9 percent in April after falling by 1.5 percent in the previous month.

On the other hand, the Conference Board said the lagging economic index jumped by 4.1 percent in April after climbing by 1.7 percent in March.

“Business conditions may recover for some sectors and industries over the next few months,” said Bart van Ark, Chief Economist at the Conference Board.

He added, “But, the breadth and depth of the decline in the LEI suggests that an imminent re-opening of some sectors does not imply a fast rebound for the economy at large.”

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