U.S. Leading Economic Index Jumps Much More Than Expected In March

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A report released by the Conference Board on Thursday showed its index of leading U.S. economic indicators increased by much more than expected in the month of March.

The Conference Board said its leading economic index jumped by 1.3 percent in March after edging down by a revised 0.1 percent in February.

Economists had expected the index to climb by 0.6 percent compared to the 0.2 percent dip originally reported for the previous month.

"The improvement in the U.S. LEI, with all ten components contributing positively, suggests economic momentum is increasing in the near term," said Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director of Economic Research at the Conference Board.

He added, "The widespread gains among the leading indicators are supported by an accelerating vaccination campaign, gradual lifting of mobility restrictions, as well as current and expected fiscal stimulus."

Ozyildirim said the recent trend by the leading index is consistent with the economy picking up in the coming months and noted the Conference Board projects year-over-year growth could reach 6.0 percent in 2021.

The report showed the coincident economic index rose by 0.6 percent in March after slipping by 0.1 percent in February.

Meanwhile, the lagging economic index fell by 0.5 percent in March after surging up by 1.6 percent in the previous month.

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