U.S. leading indicator points to further economic recovery in May

A gauge of future U.S. economic activity increased for the third consecutive month in May, suggesting the economy continued to recover from the recession caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The Conference Board on Thursday said its index of leading economic indicators (LEI) rose 1.3% last month to 114.5, topping its previous peak reached in January 2020. That was in line with economists’ expectations.

“Strengths among the leading indicators were widespread, with initial claims for unemployment insurance making the largest positive contribution to the index; housing permits made this month’s only negative contribution,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, senior director of economic research at The Conference Board in Washington.

The LEI’s coincident index, a measure of current economic conditions, rose for the third consecutive month by 0.4% in May after increasing 0.3% in April.

But the lagging index declined 2.2% last month after gaining 3.0% in April.