The US Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) inched up 0.3% to 119.8 in March, after a 0.6% increase in February. In the last six months, the LEI has gone up by 1.9%. 

March’s results indicate that economic growth will likely continue throughout the year, despite the war in Ukraine, shifting stock prices, and weakening business and consumer expectations. “The Conference Board projects 3.0% year-over-year US GDP growth in 2022,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director of Economic Research at The Conference Board, “which is slower than the 5.6% pace of 2021, but still well above pre-covid trend.” 

“This rate also reflects a 0.5 ppt downgrade incorporated in our base case to include the effects of the war in Ukraine compared to before the war (3.5%),” Ozyildirim added. “However, downside risks to the growth outlook remain, associated with intensification of supply chain disruptions and inflation linked to lingering pandemic shutdowns and the war, as well as with tightening monetary policy and persistent labor shortages.”

After February’s 0.4% increase, the Coincident Economic Index rose 0.4% to 108.7 in March. The Lagging Economic Index went up by 0.6% to 110.9 for the month, following February’s 0.2% increase.