The Conference Board’s May Index of Leading Economic Indicators
The Conference Board today released it's Index of Leading Economic Indicators for May, and it confirmed earlier metrics that suggest the recession is nearing an end, and a modest recovery is about to take hold.
The May index was up 1.2 percent, which was the biggest gain since 2004. The number beat consensus expectations, which was for a 0.9 percent increase. Even more significant was that the Index for the six-month period ending in May was also up 1.2 percent and that that represented the first increase in that metric since April 2007, when the downturn in retail sales first became noticeable.
It should be noted that there remain a number of economists that believe that rather than emerge from the recession, we are about to enter a deeper, more prolonged phase of it, driven by continued weakness in, both residential and commercial real estate markets, and continued weakness in the banks. I'm not an economist, but I have learned not to buck the Fed, and the Fed remains cautiously optimistic that a recovery, though less than robust, is in the cards.
As I've written before, I believe we'll see a turnaround in retail sales in the fourth quarter, when the same-store comps turn favorable, and we're likely to begin to see more upbeat press coverage.