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

FILE PHOTO: Customers drink, eat, and chat at well-spaced tables in the former Almanac Taproom parking lot that has become the pandemic beer garden in Alameda, Calif., June 4, 2021. REUTERS / Ann Saphir / File Photo

(Reuters) – A gauge of future U.S. economic activity rose for the third straight month in May, suggesting the economy has continued to recover from the recession caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The Conference Board announced on Thursday that its Leading Economic Indicators Index (LEI) rose 1.3% last month to 114.5, surpassing its previous high in January 2020. According to a Reuters survey, this was in line with the expectations of economists.

“Strengths in the leading indicators were widespread, with initial jobless claims being the largest positive contributor to the index; Housing permits were the only negative contributor this month, ”said Ataman Ozyildirim, executive director of economic research at the Conference Board in Washington.

The LEI’s coincidence index, a measure of current economic conditions, rose 0.4% for the third straight month in May, after rising 0.3% in April.

But the lagging index fell 2.2% last month after rising 3.0% in April.

Reporting from Evan Sully; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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