• English
  • 简体中文
  • 繁體中文
  • Tiếng Việt
  • ไทย
  • Indonesia

How To Evaluate Leading Economic Indicators?

Aria Thomas

Mar 25, 2022 10:12


The leading economic indicators are a group of elements that give current information and forecast future changes in the US economy. This contrasts with trailing indicators like employment growth or GDP. Leading indicators may assist economists in forecasting changes in the US economy before they occur. Leading indicators are not necessarily reliable forecasters of future economic activity, but they may be used in combination with other indicators to offer information about the US economy's future growth or contraction.

What components make up the Leading Economic Index?

The US Conference Board developed a leading economic indicator index that is part of a larger analytic framework designed to identify economic growth inflection points. There are three economic indicators: leading, coincidental, and lagging. The conference board was founded in the United States in 1916. The organization is a non-profit that may be regarded as a think tank.

The index of leading economic indicators is designed to forecast economic performance in the future. The idea is to find inflection points in economic statistics that indicate when the US economy is about to turn around.

The following are the 10 components of The Conference Board Leading Economic Index:

  • Average weekly hours, manufacturing

  • Average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance

  • Manufacturers’ new orders, consumer goods, and materials

  • ISM Index of New Orders

  • Manufacturers’ new orders, nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders

  • Building permits, new private housing units

  • Stock prices, 500 common stocks

  • Leading Credit Index

  • Interest rate spread, 10-year Treasury bonds less federal funds

  • Average consumer expectations for business conditions

The purpose of the Leading Economic Index is to predict probable changes in the direction of US economic growth. The leading economic indicators begin to decrease ahead of the three most recent recessions, according to a 35-year chart of the leading indicators.

A gray bar represents the recessions. Leading economic indicators indicate a drop in performance before a recession, followed by a recovery when the US economy starts to grow. There were recessions in 1991, 2001/2002, and 2008/2009. Not only can leading economic indicators predict a recession, but they also assist predict when the US economy will recover.

What Does Each Component Indicate?

Many of the leading economic index's components describe employment. Weekly jobless claims and average weekly hours in manufacturing are both employment components. Despite the fact that both of these components are useful, employment data is often a lagging signal. When businesses begin to recruit or lay off employees, it is because the company is either booming or rapidly collapsing. Companies seldom anticipate the need for growth or contraction before it has an impact on their firm.

Orders are the second set of components linked with the leading economic index. These data points are quite useful in forecasting future economic activity. Manufacturer's new orders of consumer products and materials are the three order components. The ISM index or new orders of nondefense capital goods, excluding aircraft orders. This last component serves as a stand-in for company capital investment.

The third component is US Home Building Permits, which supplies the index with information regarding prospective housing starts. Prior to constructing a house, a builder must get a construction permit, which will give him the necessary permissions to construct in that region.

Stock prices are the next factor to consider. The S&P 500 index prices are used to assess market mood by the leading economic index. The leading index also employs a leading credit index to detect if individuals are aiming to increase or decrease their borrowing, which contributes information about future expenditure to the index.

The yield curve is the index's next component. The index measured the difference between the 10-year US Treasury yield and the US Federal Reserve's Federal Funds rate. The yield curve reveals the index whether borrowing rates rise or fall over time. Borrowers will often pay higher interest rates on longer-term loans. This is due to the fact that there is greater uncertainty over longer periods of time. The yield curve is very significant when trading debt or currencies.

When short-term yields exceed long-term yields, such as when the fed funds rate exceeds the 10-year treasury yield, the yield curve inverts. An inverted yield curve indicates that the investor perceives greater risk in the near term than in the long run. This kind of circumstance frequently indicates the onset of a recession. The last component is the average consumer's outlook on business circumstances. This is a measure of mood that may be particularly useful in predicting short-term changes in economic activity.

How Do You Trade Around the Leading Economic Index?

The leading economic index contains ten subcomponents that can be predicted ahead of time. This index, like previous economic releases, will present opportunities if it comes in above or below forecasts. Because most of the subcomponents may be estimated in advance by analysts, a surprise should not be regarded lightly. Better-than-expected or worse-than-expected figures should indicate that the market is misaligned, which might cause a shift in many underlying assets.


The leading economic indicators are a collection of 10 distinct data items used by the US Conference Board to estimate future developments in the US economy. Leading indicators may assist economists in predicting turning points in the US economy's development before they occur. Leading indicators are not necessarily reliable forecasters of future economic activity, but they may be used in combination with other indicators to offer information about the US economy's future growth or contraction. Jobs data, factory orders, housing data, stock and bond prices, and credit and consumer mood data are among the components. Because most of the sub-indices can be computed before the number is revealed, a report that shows a higher or lower than anticipated index should be regarded carefully.