Economic Indicators

Current News on the Economy

  • Survey of Current Business
    Bureau of Economic Analysis monthly journal presents summary estimates and analyses of U.S. economic activity. Includes the "Business Situation," a review of recent economic developments, regular and special articles about the national, regional, and international economic accounts and related topics. Latest estimates of the national income and product accounts every month.
  • Economic News via Yahoo News
    Up to the minute news from a wide variety of sources from around the world.
  • Economic News from CNN

Categories of Indicators

The following are the main categories of indicators along with specific ones under each.

Total Output Income and Spending -These tend to be the most broad measures of economic performance and include such statistics as:
* Gross Domestic Product (GDP) [quarterly]
* Real GDP [quarterly]
* Implicit Price Deflator for GDP [quarterly]
* Business Output [quarterly]
* National Income [quarterly]
* Consumption Expenditure [quarterly]
* Corporate Profits[quarterly]
* Real Gross Private Domestic Investment[quarterly]

Employment, Unemployment and Wages -These statistics cover how strong the labor market is and they include the following:

* The Unemployment Rate [monthly]
* Level of Civilian Employment[monthly]
* Average Weekly Hours, Hourly Earnings, and Weekly Earnings[monthly]
* Labor Productivity [quarterly]

Production and Business Activity -These statistics cover how much businesses are producing and the level of new construction in the economy:

Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization [monthly]
* New Construction [monthly]
* New Private Housing and Vacancy Rates [monthly]
* Business Sales and Inventories [monthly]
* Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories, and Orders [monthl

Prices -This category includes both the prices consumers pay as well as the prices businesses pay for raw materials and include:

Producer Prices (PPI) [monthly]
* Consumer Prices (CPI) [monthly]
* Prices Received And Paid By Farmers [monthly]

Money, Credit and Security Markets- These statistics measure the amount of money in the economy as well as interest rates and include:

Money Stock (M1, M2, and M3) [monthly]
* Bank Credit at All Commercial Banks [monthly]
* Consumer Credit [monthly]
* Interest Rates and Bond Yields [weekly and monthly]
* Stock Prices and Yields [weekly and monthly]

Federal Finance -These are measures of government spending and government deficits and debts:

* Federal Receipts (Revenue)[yearly]
* Federal Outlays (Expenses) [yearly]
* Federal Debt [yearly]

International Statistics-These are measures of how much the country is exporting and how much they are importing:

Industrial Production and Consumer Prices of Major Industrial Countries
* U.S. International Trade In Goods and Services
* U.S. International Transactions

Economic Indicator Disseminators

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Department of Labor
    Detailed releases of a wide variety of economic statistics including: Consumer Price Index (CPI), productivity, consumer spending, wages and earnings, employment/unemployement, inflation among others.  They Publish the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE), a survey of American buying habits (spending, earnings, etc.) as well as The American Time Use Survey (ATUS) that measures the amount of time people spend doing various activities. 
  • Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce
    Covers a wide variety of economic indicators at the national, international, regional and industry levels, including: Gross Domestic Product(GDP), Personal income, Balance of Trade, and an overview of the U.S. Economy.
  • Economic Indicators. United States Census Bureau-Includes Manufacturers shipments, inventories & orders; Housing Vacanies & Ownership; Construction spending & new home sales; Housing Starts & building permits; Manufacturing, trade inventories & sales; United States International Trade in Goods & Services (Trade Deficit); and others.
  • Federal Reserve Board -Statistical Releases
    Various statistical releases such as: foreign exchange rates, interest rates, commercial paper, banks, flow of funds, etc. Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual statistics both current and historical
  • Conference Board -Provides a rich array of actionable, authoritative economic data on the business cycle, labor demand and trends, and several barometers of consumer and business confidence, including the widely quoted Consumer Confidence Index and the Leading Economic Indicators. Limited data.
  • Economic
    Economic is brought to you by the Economics and Statistics Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Provides timely access to the daily releases of key economic indicators from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Calendars of Economic Indicator Releases

Types of Indicators

  • Leading Indicators-These types of indicators signal future events. Think of how the amber traffic light indicates the coming of the red light. In the world of finance, leading indicators work the same way but are less accurate than the street light. Bond yields are thought to be a good leading indicator of the stock market because bond traders anticipate and speculate trends in the economy (even though they aren't always right).
  • Lagging Indicators-A lagging indicator is one that follows an event. Back to our traffic light example: the amber light is a lagging indicator for the green light because amber trails green. The importance of a lagging indicator is its ability to confirm that a pattern is occurring or about to occur. Unemployment is one of the most popular lagging indicators. If the unemployment rate is rising, it indicates that the economy has been doing poorly.
  • Coincident Indicators-these indicators occur at approximately the same time as the conditions they signify. In our traffic light example, the green light would be a coincidental indicator of the associated pedestrian walk signal. Rather than predicting future events, these types of indicators change at the same time as the economy or stock market. Personal income is a coincidental indicator for the economy: high personal income rates will coincide with a strong economy.

International Statistics

  • International Financial Statistics (International Monetary Fund)
    Time series data for major economic aggregates as well as current data on exchange rates, international liquidity, international banking, currency, interest rates, prices, production, trade, government accounts, GDP, and national accounts. , international_financial_statistics_guide_4-7-08.doc doc
  • Central Bank lists from Bank for International Settlements -links to economic & statistical agenices for countries around the world.
  • EU (European Union) Statistics & Opinion Polls
    Links to statistics on the EU and opinion polls. Statistics cover topics ranging from regional growth to external trade. Opinion polls indicate how satisfied people are with different aspects of the EU and what could be improved.
  • Penn World Tables
    A database with information on relative levels of income, output, inputs and productivity, with country and period coverage for 188 countries.   Download GDP, GDP per capita, exchange rate and population data and export as HTML, Excel, and SPSS.
  • World Bank Open Data
    Access to more than 2,000 financial, business, health, economic and human development indicators for over 200 countries, with some of the data going back 50 years. Search results can be exported in different formats. Users can also choose to download the entire database directly from the catalog.  Includes World Development Indicators and Global Finance Indicators as well as detailed country profiles. 

Historical Statistics

  • ProQuest Statistical Abstract of the United States
    HA202 .U5
    The authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. The final edition from the US Census is the 2012 edition.  The current editions by ProQuest are in  Reference behind the Research Help Desk.
  • Economic Report of the President
    Annual report written by the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors. It overviews the nation's economic progress using text and extensive data appendices.  Documents are available in ASCII text and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), with many of the tables also available for separate viewing and downloading as spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel (XLS).
  • Economic Data - FRED II-Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
    Federal Reserve Economic data. A database of over 3000 U.S. economic time series. With FRED® II you can download data in Microsoft Excel and text formats and view charts of data series.There is now a FRED App – available free for iOS and Android Devices.  The FRED app lets you access the full range of economic data.
  • Economic Indicators, 1995-
    Available from April 1995 forward, this monthly compilation is prepared for the Joint Economic Committee by the Council of Economic Advisors and provides economic information on prices, wages, production, business activity, purchasing power, credit, money and Federal finance.Documents are available as ASCII text and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). Charts and graphs are omitted from the ASCII text version.