Definitions

economic indicators

Economic indicator

An economic indicator (or business indicator) is a statistic about the economy. Economic indicators allow analysis of economic performance and predictions of future performance.

Economic indicators include various indices, earnings reports, and economic summaries, such as unemployment, housing starts, Consumer Price Index (a measure for inflation), industrial production, bankruptcies, Gross Domestic Product, broadband internet penetration, retail sales, stock market prices, and money supply changes. Economic indicators are primarily studied in a branch of macroeconomics called "business cycles". The leading business cycle dating committee in the United States of America is the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is the principal fact-finding agency for the U.S. government in the field of labor economics and statistics. Other producers of economic indicators includes the United States Census Bureau and United States Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Economic indicators fall into three categories: leading, lagging and coincident.

Coincident indicators are those which change at approximately the same time and in the same direction as the whole economy, thereby providing information about the current state of the economy. Personal income, GDP, industrial production and retail sales are coincident indicators. A coincident index may be used to identify, after the fact, the dates of peaks and troughs in the business cycle.

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