The latest Index of Leading Economic Indicators, the Conference Board’s closely-watched barometer of future economic activity, registered another downturn.
Right now, the indicators are flashing “recession.” The Index fell 1% in December, following a decline around the same magnitude in November. It’s now down 4.2% over the last six months.
The Conference Board tracks forward-looking indicators for manufacturing, construction, financial markets, unemployment and consumer expectations.
“The Leading Index has a pretty long history—we track it going back to 1959,” said Conference Board economist Ataman Ozyildirim. According to him, it’s been a pretty good predictor of recession in the past.
“On average, the Leading Index turns down about twelve months ahead of the overall economy,” Ozyildirim said. “It has been on a downward trajectory starting in February, consistent with recessionary conditions developing.”
One part of the economy that’s been bucking this overall downward trajectory is the job market, said economist Robert Frick at Navy Federal Credit Union.
“There’s tremendous demand that’s continuing for workers, there’s a lot of jobs that need to be filled yet,” Frick said.
The Fed predicts that as the economy slows this year, unemployment will rise to about 4.6%.
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.