The Conference Board just reported that:
The Conference Board LEI for the U.S. increased sharply for the second consecutive month in May.... The index rose 1.2 percent (a 2.4 percent annual rate) between November 2008 and May 2009, the first time the index has increased over a six-month period since April 2007....
The Conference Board LEI [,... b]ased on revised data, ... increased 1.1 percent in April and decreased 0.3 percent in March. During the six-month span through May, the leading economic index increased 1.2 percent, with five out of ten components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 50 percent).
That the LEI are now positive on both a 3 and 6 month basis is a big deal. More later with graphs.
As an additional note, the 4 week moving average of initial unemployment claims continues ever so gradually downward, and perhaps even more importantly, continuing claims have stabilized at ~6.7 million for over a month.
All of this suggests that we are very close to the bottom of the Recession -- I hasten to add, not that things are improving, but at least there is good reason to believe, with the major exception of the unemployment rate, that they won't get significantly worse.