The Conference Board said on June 18 that its index of leading economic indicators, a measure of economic conditions in the coming months, increased 1.2% in May from the prior month.
The Conference Board noted that its index had increased in April for the first time in seven months, by a revised 1.1%.
The index, which had been on a downward trend since hitting a peak in July 2007, "has risen sharply in the past two months amid widespread strengths among its components," the Conference Board said. "With these large and extensive increases, the six-month change in the index has become positive for the first time in two years," since April 2007.
The positive leading indicators -- beginning with the largest contributors -- were vendor performance, the interest rate spread, real money supply, stock prices, consumer expectations, building permits and manufacturers' new orders for nondefense capital goods.
They outweighed the negative contributors: average weekly manufacturing hours, average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance, and manufacturers' new orders for consumer goods and materials.
The Federal Reserve forecasts the economy will contract between 1.3% to 2% in 2009 and post modest 2% to 3% growth in 2010.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009