The leading economic index fell 0.8% in October, marking its 19th month of decline. Despite this, the U.S. economy appears no closer to a recession than when the streak began. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had predicted a drop of 0.7% in the index, which measures 10 indicators to gauge whether the economy is improving or deteriorating. The last time the index fell so many times in a row was during the Great Recession from late 2007 to early 2009.
Despite this downturn, consumer spending has remained steady and has helped keep the economy growing at an annual pace of 4.9% in the third quarter. However, higher inflation and rising interest rates have had negative effects that have been offset by consumer spending.
Looking ahead, economists predict that elevated inflation, high interest rates, and contracting consumer spending due to dwindling pandemic savings and mandatory student loan repayments will lead to a very short recession in the U.S. According to Justyna Zabinska-La Monica, senior manager of business cycle indicators at The Conference Board, “The U.S. economy is on track for a recession.”
On Monday, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA and S&P 500 SPX rose in trading after news of the declining leading economic index was released.