The U.S. leading index, a key barometer of economic conditions, fell 0.6 percent in May, the Conference Board reported today, and now stands at 137.9.

May’s decrease marked the third decline in the last six months. Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.1 percent in April and increased 0.4 percent in March.

The largest negative contributors to the leading index last month were initial claims for unemployment insurance and the index of consumer expectations. From November to May, the leading index fell by 0.2 percent, and declining housing permits made the largest negative contribution over this period.

Only three of the 10 indicators that make up the leading index increased in May. Among the positive contributors were manufacturers’ new orders for nondefense capital goods, manufacturers’ new orders for consumer goods and materials, and interest-rate spread. Other negative contributors included real money supply, average weekly manufacturing hours, building permits, stock prices and vendor performance.

After a pick up at the end of 2005 and beginning of 2006, the leading index has fallen slightly below its level at the end of 2005. Correspondingly, economic activity and real GDP growth (a 5.3 percent annual rate) picked up in the first quarter of 2006. But, the current behavior of the leading index so far suggests the rapid pace of economic activity in the first quarter is unlikely to be sustained and economic growth should continue, but at a slow to moderate rate in the near term.

The Conference Board is a nonprofit research and business group.

Show Comments Hide Comments

Comments

Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
Success!
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription