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.



Weekly Leading Index Falls

Low investor morale is dampening the U.S. economic recovery, but, barring a fresh wave of corporate layoffs, the country is unlikely to slip back into recession, a report showed on Friday.

The Economic Cycle Research Institute's weekly gauge of U.S. economic activity dipped to 118.1 in the week ended Sept. 27 from 118.9 in the previous week.

"It's very consistent with the subpar pace of the recovery," said Lakshman Achuthan, ECRI research director. "It is critical going forward that business confidence be strong enough so that there is not a new round of national layoffs."

The report came just after the U.S. Department of Labor reported that the economy shed 43,000 jobs in September, but the nation's unemployment rate edged lower to 5.6 percent in September from 5.7 percent in August.

"If we get into a big round of layoffs then there's some risk of an acceleration of the index downward, but short of that it's very much consistent with a subpar recovery," Achuthan added.

The weekly index's growth rate, which smooths out weekly fluctuations, fell to -1.2 percent from -0.1 percent in the preceding week.

The Weekly Leading Index is composed of a balance of seven major economic indicators. ECRI designs short- and long-term indexes aimed at predicting business cycles, recessions and recoveries in the world's leading economies.