The U.S. economy picked up its pace of expansion in February, with the Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the month up 0.2 percent to 111.5. This follows a flat performance in January and a 0.1 percent decline in December 2018.

“The U.S. LEI increased in February for the first time in five months,” says Ataman Ozyildirim, director of economic research at The Conference Board. “February’s improvement was driven by accommodative financial conditions and a rebound in stock prices, which more than offset weaknesses in the labor market components. Despite the latest results, the U.S. LEI’s growth rate has slowed over the past six months, suggesting that while the economy will continue to expand in the near-term, its pace of growth could decelerate by year end.”

The Conference Board’s Coincident Economic Index, a measure of current economic activity, increased in February, rising 0.2 percent to 105.9, following a 0.1 percent increase in January and a 0.4 percent increase in December. Its Lagging Economic Index, an indicator representing changes that come only after the economy has begun to follow a particular trend, was unchanged in February at 107, after ticking up 0.6 percent in January and 0.4 percent in December.