The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), rose 0.5% in April on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis, the second monthly gain after several weak months. On a year-over-year (Y/Y) basis, the barometer is up 4.1% (3MMA).

The unadjusted measure of the CAB rose 0.8% in April and 0.7% in March. The diffusion index was steady at 65 percent in April, an improvement over the winter months. The diffusion index marks the number of positive contributors relative to the total number of indicators monitored. The CAB reading for March was revised upward by 0.64 points and that for February by 0.10 points.

“The latest CAB signals gains in U.S. commercial and industrial activity through mid-2019, but at a slow pace,” said Kevin Swift, chief economist. “As a result, the recovery and expansion underway is likely to surpass the record of 120 months set during the 1990s. The CAB reading suggests that there are glimmers of hope for improving activity in the closing months of the year.”

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