The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI)
The LEI for the US increased 0.8 percent in March to 100.9 (2004=100), following a 0.5 percent increase in February and a 0.2 percent increase in January. The LEI rose sharply again, the third consecutive monthly increase” said Ataman Ozyildirim Economist at the Conference Board. “After a winter pause, the leading indicators are gaining momentum and economic growth is gaining traction.”
In my view this paints a picture of positive stability and continued growth for the U.S. economy. Typically a downturn is in motion after three consecutive down months in the LEI. Similarly, 3 up months during a downturn typically signals the end of that cycle.
Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI)
Also released on Monday the CFNAI reported:
Led by declines in production-related indicators the CFNAI decreased to +0.20 in March from +0.53 in February. The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3 increased to a neutral reading in March (and is headed in the right direction) from -0.14 in February marking its third consecutive non-positive value. March’s CFNAI-MA3 suggests that growth in national economic activity was at its historical trend.
In a blatantly political move the Obama administration’s State Department has delayed its decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline until after the mid-term elections. It does not matter that studies have shown the pipeline would have little, if any, negative environmental effects. It does not matter that unemployment still hovers around 7% and thousands of jobs would be created directly from the project and thousands more jobs would be created for existing and new business created which would be created as a result of the project being nearby. It does not matter that fuel costs would decrease, that dependence on unworthy oil trading partners would be reduced.
Orders for durable goods, products designed to last 3 years or more, rose 2.6% in March, the biggest jump since November, the Commerce Department said Thursday. The rise in overall orders exceeded economists’ expectations and suggest the recovery is gaining momentum after severe winter weather sapped demand across the economy. Many forecasters believe economic growth slowed to an annual pace of 1% during the first quarter while some are expecting growth to pick up to a pace of above 3% in the second quarter.
We continue to look for the manufacturing sector to be one of the important drivers of growth in 2014.” Says John Ryding, economist at RDO Economics.
The IRS was in the news again this week:
It appears that some 2800 employees of the IRS who have various disciplinary charges against them ranging from non-payment of personal taxes (that’s right, they work for the IRS and do not pay their taxes) to drug abuse were all given performance bonuses for 2013. Simply unbelievable but what does the IRS care? It is not their money they are pissing away; it is yours and mine, my children’s money and your children’s money. They throw lavish parties for themselves (I addressed those last year in the View) and obviously have no sense of good judgment. How sad that there is so much money available to do good and yet without proper oversight, so much of the money is mishandled and at the highest levels of our government.
Fast & Furious-providing weapons to criminals leading to a loss of American life. No one held accountable. The president was unaware.
The loss of 4 American lives at our embassy in Benghazi, Libya. No one held accountable. The president was unaware.
The IRS targeting conservative political groups for tax-exempt status. No one held accountable. The president was unaware.
The National Security Administration eavesdropping on the phone calls of American citizens. No one held accountable. The president was unaware.
The software program created for the Affordable Healthcare Act, at a cost of $1 billion (thus far) and 3 ½ years to “perfect”, has been unusable to the American people. No one held accountable. The president was unaware.
Spying on our Allies, specifically Angela Merkel of Germany. No one held accountable. The president was unaware. (Although these things go on knowingly between countries all the time, the fact that our president denies knowledge of this is just another sign of his incompetence as the leader of the most powerful country on the planet).
“If you like your current insurance plan you can keep it. Period” Barack Obama
“If you like your doctor, you can keep him. Period” Barack Obama
Have a great weekend and….
Hug your children and grandchildren, tell them you love them.
Buy American made products whenever you can.
Hire a Veteran: they are patriots, honest, hard working, disciplined, loyal…. and …. They need and deserve our support.
God Bless America