Types of Economic Indicators

An economic indicator is a statistic that is used for interpreting the current or future conditions of the economy.

An economic indicator is a statistic that is used for interpreting the current or future conditions of the economy. Economic indicators are widely followed by every major player in the economy including investors, corporations, central banks, and government bodies.


Types of Economic Indicators

There are three (3) main types of economic indicators:

(a) Leading Indicators

Leading indicators are very important as they can signal the future conditions of the economy. For example, bond yields are key indicators of future stock market performance.

(b) Coincident Indicators

Coincident indicators occur at the same time as the economic conditions they signify. For example, national income which coincides with the overall economic performance.

(c) Lagging Indicators

Lagging indicators follow economic conditions. These indicators are used for confirming economic patterns. For example, unemployment is a lagging indicator.



Main Categories of Economic Indicators

These are the main categories of economic indicators:

  1. Output, Income, and Spending

  2. Production, Business, and New Construction Activity

  3. Employment, Unemployment, and Wages

  4. Prices

  5. Money and Credit

  6. International Statistics


(1) Output, Income, and Spending

INDICATING: Broad measures of economic performance

RELEASED: Quarterly

Include statistics as:

  • GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and Real GDP

  • Business Output

  • National Income

  • Implicit Price Deflator (for GDP)

  • Consumption Expenditure

  • Domestic Investment


(2) Production, Business, and New Construction Activity

INDICATING: The performance of general business and the level of new construction

■ RELEASED: Monthly

Include statistics as:

  • Industrial Production

  • Capacity Utilization

  • Manufacturers Inventories, and Orders

  • Business Sales and Inventories

  • New Construction

  • New Private Housing


(3) Employment, Unemployment, and Wages

INDICATING: The conditions in the labor market


Include statistics as:

  • Payrolls (Jobs Creation)

  • Unemployment Rate

  • Average Earnings (Wages)

  • Labor Productivity





(4) Prices

INDICATING: Consumer and producer prices

■ RELEASED: Monthly

Include statistics as:

  • Producer Prices (PPI)

  • Consumer Prices (CPI)


(5) Money and Credit

INDICATING: Interest rates and the amount of money in the economy

■ RELEASED: Monthly

Include statistics as:

  • Interest Rates and Bond Yields

  • Money Stock (M1, M2, and M3)

  • Consumer Credit

  • Bank Credit


(6) Federal Finance

INDICATING: Government spending, deficit, and debt

■ RELEASED: Yearly

Include statistics as:

  • Federal Receipts (Income)

  • Federal Outlays (Spending)

  • Federal Deficit / Surplus

  • Federal Debt


(7) International Statistics

INDICATING: The country's exports/imports


Include statistics as:

  • International Trade (Goods & Services)

  • International Transactions

  • Industrial Production of Major Industrial Countries

  • Consumer Prices of Major Industrial Countries


Economic Indicators





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