What Is an Economic Indicator?

What Is an Economic Indicator?

By Charles Joseph | Editor, Financial Affairs
Reviewed by Corey Michael | Senior Financial Analyst

An economic indicator is a piece of economic data, usually of macroeconomic scale, that is used by analysts to interpret current or future investment possibilities. These indicators also help to judge the overall health of an economy. Economic indicators include various indices, earnings reports, and economic summaries. They come in all shapes and sizes, and they can be used to describe anything from unemployment to GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth, inflation, international trade, and consumer satisfaction.

Related Questions

1. What are examples of economic indicators?

Economic indicators come in various forms but some of the most commonly recognized types include the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Gross Domestic Product (GDP), unemployment rates, and the Price Earnings Ratio (P/E Ratio).

2. How are economic indicators used?

Want More Financial Tips?

Get Our Best Stuff First (for FREE)
We respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe anytime.

Economic indicators can be used in many ways, but most commonly, they are used by analysts to identify trends in the economy. This can help decision-makers formulate monetary and fiscal policies, and investors to decide where to allocate resources.

3. Can an economic indicator forecast the future state of the economy?

While economic indicators portray the overall health of the economy, they aren’t ‘fortune tellers’. They indicate the current state and past trends, which analysts use to make informed predictions about future economic activity.

4. What is a leading economic indicator?

A leading economic indicator is one that generally changes before the economy as a whole changes. They are used to predict changes in the economy, but they are not always accurate. Stock market returns are an example of a leading economic indicator.

5. What is a lagging economic indicator?

A lagging economic indicator is a statistical factor that trails changes in the economy and finance. Examples include unemployment, corporate profits, and labor cost per unit of output. Unlike leading indicators, they only change after the economy has clearly entered a new phase.