Economic Definition of leading economic indicator. Defined.
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Term leading economic indicator Definition: One of eleven economic statistics that tend to move up or down a few months before the expansions and contractions of the business cycle. These leading indicators are -- manufacturers new orders, an index of vendor performance, orders for plant and equipment, Standard & Poor's 500 index of stock prices, new building permits, durable goods manufacturers unfilled orders, the money supply, change in materials prices, average workweek in manufacturing, changes in business and consumer credit, a consumer confidence index, and initial claims for unemployment insurance. Leading indicators indicate what the aggregate economy is likely to do, business-cycle-wise, 3 to 12 months down the road. When leading indicators rise today, then the rest of the economy is likely to rise in the coming year. And when leading indicators decline, then the economy is likely to decline in 3 to 12 months.