Guide to Economic Indicators

Guide to Economic Indicators

Guide to Economic Indicators

Guide to Economic Indicators


This reference guide to over 50 statistical indicators of the US economy provides quick explanations, in alphabetical order, of the basic data, their attributes and their analytical usefulness.


This book provides concise descriptions of over fifty economic indicators developed primarily by U.S. government agencies but also by private and international organizations. These indicators reflect the overall dimensions and international aspects of the American economy as well as particular segments of it.

This introduction briefly describes how these economic indicators are used to track the economy and provides some background material on using economic indicators, including how to interpret changes in them and how to evaluate their accuracy. The introduction concludes by explaining how the information in this book is arranged.

Interpreting Business Cycles with Economic Indicators

The economy continually operates in recurring phases of rising and falling activity which are referred to as business cycles. Economic indicators are used to measure overall economic activity to classify it as rising (expansion) or falling (recession), as well as to determine the cyclical turning points of these expansions and recessions. The actual and technical determination of expansions and recessions is made by a committee of economists under the auspices of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a private nonprofit economic research organization. The official designation of business cycles by this nongovern-

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