A Framework That Provides Clarity

During periods of “low visibility,” confusion reigns: for every indication of one trend, there seems to be a countertrend. The key is to glean from the collective wisdom of reliable leading indicators a clear signal that the economy is headed for a turn.



The End of the Recession

The end of this recession -- the most severe downturn since World War II -- is finally in sight. This is the clear message from Economic Cycle Research Institute's array of leading indices of the U.S. economy.

What are these indicators? One is the ECRI's U.S. Long Leading Index (USLLI), which has the longest average lead times of any U.S. leading index. Another is the Weekly Leading Index (WLI), which has a shorter lead over the business cycle but is very promptly available.

The growth rate of the USLLI turned up in November 2008 and has now advanced for four straight months. The growth rate of the WLI turned up soon after that, in early December 2008, and as of mid-April 2009 it had been rising for more than four months (see the top two lines in the chart below). A rigorous examination of the data affirms that both USLLI growth and WLI growth have been in cyclical upturns for at least four months.