The Conference board's Index of Leading Economic Indicators
The Conference Board prepares a set of closely-watched leading economic
indicators for the U.S. and various other countries. These consist
of a set of data series that tend to turn up and down before the
overall economy, such as initial unemployment claims, new orders
and building permits. While they’re not perfectly consistent, they
may help identify coming business cycle peaks and troughs. There
are also indexes of coincident and lagging indicators. Press releases,
data and charts are available at this site.
Institute for Supply Management (ISM)
ISM publishes monthly Reports on Business, both manufacturing
and non-manufacturing, including measures of production, new orders,
backlogs, employment, deliveries, etc. The manufacturing report
includes the Purchasing Managers Index, which is widely watched
as a forecasting tool.
Survey of Professional Forecasters (Philadelphia Federal Reserve
The Survey of Professional Forecasters is the oldest quarterly
survey of macroeconomic forecasts in the United States. The survey
began in 1968 and was conducted by the American Statistical Association
and the National Bureau of Economic Research. The Federal Reserve
Bank of Philadelphia took over the survey in 1990. They forecast
GDP growth, inflation, interest rates, the unemployment rate, industrial
production, housing starts, exports, consumption, and a number of
other variables. The link above will take you to their website, which
includes the latest forecasts, an explanation of their procedure,
historical data, and more than you’d ever want to know about their
Background on the survey is available at http://www.phil.frb.org/files/spf/spfbr.pdf
The Livingston Survey (Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank)
The Anxious Index
The Livingston Survey was started in 1946 by the late columnist
Joseph Livingston, and is now compiled by the Philly Fed. It is the
oldest continuous survey of economists' expectations. It summarizes
the forecasts of economists from industry, government, banking, and
academia. It is semiannual (June and December) and includes GDP,
inflation, the unemployment rate, corporate profits, the S&P 500,
industrial production, and a number of other variables.
Background on the survey is available at http://www.phil.frb.org/files/br/brma97dc.pdf
New York Times reporter David Leonhardt used the term
“anxious index” to refer to the probability of a decline in real GDP,
as reported in the Philly Fed’s Survey of Professional Forecasters.
This link will take you to their site.
Chart of the Anxious Index is available at http://www.phil.frb.org/files/spf/anxchart.pdf
Data for the Anxious Index is available at http://www.phil.frb.org/files/spf/anxious.pdf
Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey
Subscribers to the Wall Street Journal can find their
monthly survey of over 50 economists in the paper and online. They
forecast GDP, interest rates, inflation, the unemployment rate corporate
profits, housing starts, some exchange rates and other variables.
The Chicago Federal Reserve Bank's Economic Outlook Symposium
Presents the median forecast for inflation, unemployment and economic growth from the participants at the Chicago Fed's Economic Outlook Symposium.
The Federal Reserve System
While the Fed does NOT release forecasts, it may be useful to
review a couple of their documents for hints about their upcoming
The Beige Book: Current Economic Conditions by Federal Reserve
Commonly known as the Beige Book, this report is published
eight times per year. Each Federal Reserve Bank gathers anecdotal
information on current economic conditions in its District through
reports from Bank and Branch directors and interviews with key
business contacts, economists, market experts, and other sources.
The Beige Book summarizes this information by District and sector.
Actions of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)
The FOMC is the key unit affecting monetary policy in the
U.S. They issue a statement after each of their 8-per-year regular
meetings which contains their assessment of the current situation
and their plans for monetary policy for the near future.
Monetary Policy Reports to Congress
The Fed reports to Congress twice a year. Some can glean
hints as to their upcoming policy from the statements.
Bureau of Labor Statistics Forecasts
The BLS produces employment forecasts to 2010 for the nation by industry
and occupation, as well as by education or job training level, and
for the civilian labor force by age, sex and race. Released December
Other BLS analyses and projections include:
The aggregate economy is available at http://www.bls.gov/emp/empbib03.htm
By occupation is available at http://www.bls.gov/emp/empbib05.htm
National Association for Business Economics: Industry Survey
A panel of business economists summarize current conditions
and provide their forecast for the national economy. The full report
is reserved for subscribers, but non-members can access a summary
at the link above.
PNC National Economic Outlook
Stuart Hoffman, chief economist for PNC, prepares economic forecasts
for the nation and regions, including quarterly and annual forecasts
for the coming two years on output, income, employment, inflation
and interest rates.
University of Michigan’s RSQE (Research Seminar in Quantitative
RSQE produces forecasts for the next two years for typical macro
variables such as GDP, inflation, unemployment, interest rates,
capacity utilization, housing starts, disposable income, corporate
profits, the federal budget deficit, etc.
The Bond Market Association: Economic Outlook
Forecasts for the coming year for a typical set of macro
variables: GDP, interest rates, unemployment, inflation, consumption,
investment, housing starts, government expenditures, etc.
The World Bank: Global Economic Prospects
The World Bank publishes an annual overview of the world and its
economies, which includes forecasts for regions and countries
(some to 2015) for GDP, inflation, interest rates, oil prices
and other variables.
The International Monetary Fund: World Economic Outlook
The IMF prepares semi-annual reports on the world economy, including
forecasts, for regions and some individual countries, including
variables such as GDP, prices, unemployment, interest rates, trade
and capital flows.
Organization for Ecomonic Co-operation and Development Economic
The OECD prepares an ecomonic outlook for each of its 23 member
nations on a semiannual basis, including data on GDP, consuption
and saving, capitol formation, imports and exports, wages, employment
and unemployment, inflation, productivity, government budgets,
interest rates, ect.
The OECD calculates indexes of leading indicators on a monthly
basis for 23 countries including the Euro area, Japan, Canada
and the U.S..
The European Union presents semi-annual forecasts for European
economies and some others (U.S., Japan), over a two-year horizon
for a broad range of macroeconomic variables.
The Conference Board's Index of Leading Economic Indicators
Along with its index for the U.S. (listed Above), the Conference
Board also prepares leading economic indicators for various other
John Beggs of AIB Corporate & Commercial Treasury (part
of Allied Irish Banks) http://www.johnbeggs.com/jb/forecasts.asp
Presents a monthly report on indicators and forecasts for the US
and world economies, including leading indicators, exchange rates,
interest rates, GDP, etc.