What are Leading Economic Indicators?

Investors need to consider various factors when making decisions about their investments. While some of these factors may relate to a specific investment, others may also apply to all assets. One of these includes economic indicators. These may further include leading, lagging, or coincident economic indicators. These classifications exist due to the timing of when they indicate economic activity.

What are Economic Indicators?

Economic indicators represent metrics about a nation’s economy that allow analysts to understand its direction. These indicators are beneficial for many people. For investors, in particular, economic indicators can help with informed investment decision-making. For example, investors can use these indicators to establish a buy or sell period for their investments.

Economic indicators help analysts understand various critical financial factors. There are many types of economic indicators. These may also come under three classifications, including leading, lagging, and coincident economic indicators. Each of these represents a specific period of economic activity fluctuations. For investors, it is crucial to use all of these categories to make well-informed decisions.

What are Leading Economic Indicators?

Leading economic indicators are metrics that precede economic activity fluctuations. Since these indicators occur before economic events happen, they get the name ‘leading’. These indicators are the opposite of lagging economic indicators, which show changes after they transpire. Several types of leading economic indicators can predict economic events.

Through leading economic indicators, investors can get an idea of the economic conditions to expect in the future. It may include information such as when stock prices will increase or fall. Based on this information, investors can plan for the future accordingly. In fact, investors emphasize leading economic factors as they can hold crucial information about the future.

However, it does not suggest that leading economic indicators always realize. Sometimes, they may not come true. It is up to the investor to decide whether to take action based on these indicators. Apart from investors, other entities may also use leading economic indicators. For example, a country’s central bank may base monetary policy decisions on these indicators.

What are some types of Leading Economic Indicators?

Investors need to identify and analyze leading economic indicators for well-informed decision-making. For that, they need to know the different types of metrics that are leading economic indicators. While there are several of these metrics, some of the most critical ones are as below.

The Stock Market

A country’s stock market is one of the prime examples of leading economic indicators. For most investors, the stock market is the primary investment market. Therefore, any indications from the stock market about future economic events are critical.

Yield Curve

While the stock market is critical for equity investors, the yield curve is a crucial leading economic indicator for debt investors. It represents a line that shows bond yields with varying maturities. It also acts as a benchmark tool for all debt in the market.

Housing Starts

Another commonly used leading economic indicator is housing starts. It represents the number of housing units that underwent construction for a specific month. Housing starts can signal fluctuations in the economy.


Economic indicators are metrics that specify the direction in which an economy will move. Leading economic indicators are metrics that precede economic events and have several types. These include the stock market, yield curve, and housing starts.

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