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

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Continuing to signal a near-term recession for the U.S. economy, the Conference Board released a report on Monday showing another sharp drop by its reading on leading U.S. economic indicators in the month of December.

The Conference Board said its leading economic index dove by 1.0 percent in December after tumbling by a revised 1.1 percent in November.

Economists had expected the index to decrease by 0.7 percent compared to the 1.0 percent slump originally reported for the previous month.

"There was widespread weakness among leading indicators in December, indicating deteriorating conditions for labor markets, manufacturing, housing construction, and financial markets in the months ahead," said Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director, Economics, at the Conference Board.

Meanwhile, the report said the coincident economic index inched up by 0.1 percent in December after coming in unchanged in November.

The lagging economic index also increased by 0.3 percent in December after edging up by 0.2 percent in the previous month.

"The coincident economic index (CEI) has not weakened in the same fashion as the LEI because labor market related indicators (employment and personal income) remain robust," said Ozyildirim. "Nonetheless, industrial production— also a component of the CEI—fell for the third straight month."

He added, "Overall economic activity is likely to turn negative in the coming quarters before picking up again in the final quarter of 2023."

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