The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index, which tracks business cycles, fell 0.7 percent to 104.7 in September, its 18th month in a row showing declining economic activity.
The index is signaling a shallow recession in 2024, according to the Conference Board, a 107-year-old business research group with more than 2,000 U.S. member companies.
Analysts polled by The Wall Street Journal had expected the index to slip by only 0.4 percent.
Of the index’s 10 indicators, nine showed flat or negative readings, with the reduced claim for unemployment benefits the only positive factor, the board said.
New factory orders, building permits, and consumer sentiment all continued to sour.
“Although the six-month growth rate in the [index] is somewhat less negative, and the recession signal did not sound, it still signals risk of economic weakness ahead,” Justyna Zabinska-La Monica, the board’s manager of business cycle indicators, wrote in a statement announcing the month’s result.
Still, “the Conference Board forecasts that this trend will not be sustained for much longer, and a shallow recession is likely in the first half of 2024,” she added.
TRENDPOST: Several indicators—massive public and private debt, weakening consumer spending, the labor market adding low-wage jobs while white-collar workers go begging, sustained high interest rates, and a stumbling global economy—emphasize the likelihood of a recession.
The contraction could begin in this quarter if the holiday shopping season is as weak as has been forecast. And, now there is the Israel War wild card that will make a bad situation worse.