The Conference Board’s “U.S. Leading Economic Index and Consumer Confidence” says it sees a pick-up in the U.S. economy this year. CB expects the economy to grow about 3%. Growth has moderated but inflation appears under reasonable control and seems to have shaken off the burdens of cyclical dynamics says the firm. CB expects corporate profitability to peak this year and that overall profit gains should remain solid for the foreseeable future. However, as compensation costs rise and productivity gains wane, job growth picks up. This can put upward pressure on compensation when the unemployment rate is low. CB says the tensions created by trying to cover rising costs with higher prices have put businesses and the Fed on a collision course that suggests higher interest rates and lower profits lie ahead.