Leading Economic Indicators

The 40 Most Unusual Economic Indicators

Every day, data-gathering agencies publish reports about where the economy stands and where it's headed: GDP, manufacturing, unemployment and the like. But for a less conventional approach to economic forecasting, consider these

The Hair Index: What Your Cut Says About the Economy

The oracles who read economic tea leaves have a host of conventional forecasting tools, but housing starts and job growth figures can only tell you so much. To cut through the haze of data, sometimes it takes an unconventional indicator -- for example, the Hair Index.

Women's Heels Fall Out of Step With Economic Outlook

Historically, women's heel sizes reach new heights when the economy is down, and fall when it's prosperous. But come winter and spring, we'll be seeing more women in kitten heels and flats, despite the continuing economic doldrums.

'Divorce Starts': A Leading Indicator for Home Sales?

While not everyone whose marriage ends rushes out to break ground on a new home, some real estate agents say divorcing spouses make up at least a third of their clients. With the economy impacting divorce trends and marital splits pushing spending trends, should economists be watching divorce rates when they chart the economic outlook?

Leading Indicators Rise, Pointing to Stronger Growth

The index of leading economic indicators rose an impressive 1.1% in November -- its biggest gain in eight months. It provides further evidence that the U.S. expansion is gaining momentum and will likely grow at a faster pace into 2011.

Leading Economic Indicators Rise, but Not by Much

September's report by The Conference Board shows more signs of a U.S. economy that's growing at crawl. The index rose 0.3% -- its third straight monthly rise. However that pace is too low to substantially lower unemployment.

Leading Indicators Rose in August but Point to Tepid GDP Growth

August%u2019s 0.3% Leading Economic Index rise is a classic "glass half-empty/half-full" report. On the one hand, it confirms an economy that's growing too slowly -- not fast enough to lower unemployment. On the other hand, a double-dip recession is not likely, with the LEI signaling a slowly expanding economy in the quarters ahead.

Week Ahead: Housing Data, Fed Meeting, Earnings

Housing data is in the financial spotlight this week, including housing starts and new and existing home sales in August. Also, homebuilder Lennar is expected to report a profitable third quarter.

Factory Orders Rise, but Not as Much as Expected

Factory orders rose just 0.1% in July, the U.S. Commerce Department announced Thursday in a report that further clarified that the manufacturing sector's expansion slowed down this summer. While the statistic did indicate tepid growth, it was less than the 0.3% gain economists had predicted.

Two More Reports Confirm a Slowing U.S. Economy

The latest Leading Economic Indicators reading and regional Philly Fed Index provide further evidence of weaker economic growth. And that complicates policymakers' efforts to lower the nation's high unemployment rate.

Leading Economic Index Dips Again as Recovery Ebbs

June%u2019s 0.2% dip in the Leading Economic Index provided more evidence that the U.S. economic recovery has slowed, and that the slowdown will continue into autumn -- something that will complicate policymakers' task of lowering the nation's high unemployment rate.

Are Bestselling Books a Leading Economic Indicator?

Investors are always on the lookout for any statistic that might predict how the economy will fare. Nicholas Colas tried cross-referencing the New York Times nonfiction bestseller lists with highs and lows of the S&P 500. Prediction? Self-help should do well.

Leading Indicators, Philly Fed Survey Suggest Slowing U.S. Growth

Although the May Leading Economic Index and the June regional Philly Fed Survey confirmed a growing U.S. economy, each suggests the economy may slow in the quarters ahead -- something that would complicate policy makers%u2019 effort to lower the nation%u2019s high unemployment rate.

Data Suggest Recovery May Slow But Won't Stop

April's dip in the index of leading economic indicators was unexpected and signaled that growth may slow this summer. But the recovery is unlikely to stop -- other employment and manufacturing data remain encouraging.

Leading Economic Indicators Rise 1.4% in March

The Index of Leading Economic Indicators rose 1.4% in March, The Conference Board announced Monday -- its 12th straight monthly increase and further evidence that the U.S. economic recovery is well under way.

Leading Indicators Rise 1.1% in December

In another encouraging sign for the U.S. economy, the Index of Leading Economic Indicators rose a higher-than-expected 1.1% in December, continuing a nearly year-long uptrend.

Leading Economic Indicators Rise Once Again

The Conference Board's closely-watched index of leading economic indicators rose a better-than-expected 0.9 percent in November. The Federal Reserve's survey of manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic states also climbed.