What are leading economic indicators?

A question from Yahoo! Answers:

What are some leading economic indicators? i know alcoa, gm, ford, merck… anything else?

Leading indicators have nothing to do with ALCOA, GM, Ford, and Merck. There are ten leading indicators:

  1. Average weekly hours worked in manufacturing
  2. Average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance
  3. Manufacturers’ new orders for consumer goods and materials
  4. Vendor performance
  5. Manufacturers’ new orders for non-defense capital goods
  6. Building permits for new private housing units
  7. Stock prices (S&P 500 index)
  8. Money supply (M2)
  9. Interest rate spread (10-year Treasury bonds less federal funds)
  10. Index of consumer expectations

When put together and properly weighed, these indicators form an index that is capable of predicting recessions (although it does ring a false alarm every now and then).

Index of leading indicators (along with index of coincident indicators and index of lagging indicators) is published monthly by Conference Board.



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