Economic indicator GDP, Unemployment & Inflation

Common technical analysis indicators are the moving average convergence-divergence (MACD) indicator and the relative strength index (RSI). SmartAsset Advisors, LLC (“SmartAsset”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Financial Insight Technology, is registered with the U.S. Coincident indicators provide valuable information about the current state of the economy within a particular area because they happen at the same time as the changes they signal. They are extremely useful for short-term predictions of economic developments because they usually change before the economy changes. It is an indicator that moves in a direction similar to the economy. For example, GDP is procyclical because it increases if the economy is performing well.

Below we cover some of the most important indicators that you might find helpful, depending on what you’re wanting to predict or plan for. Stocks are also subject to price manipulations caused by Wall Street traders and corporations. Manipulations can include inflating stock prices via high-volume trades, complex financial derivative strategies, and creative accounting principles, both legal and illegal. The stock market is also vulnerable to the emergence of “bubbles,” akin to false positives regarding the market’s direction. In addition, many economic indicators have a benchmark set, whether by a government agency or other entity.

There are also stock market bubbles, which can give a false positive for the economy’s direction. If investors ignore underlying economic indicators, and there are unsupported increases in price levels, a market crash could happen. We saw this when the market crashed in 2008 as a result of overvalued credit default swaps and subprime loans.

This category provides a near real-time view of activity across sectors or regions. Policymakers and economists track coincident indicators for a current pulse on the economy. This helps them make informed decisions with minimal data lag. Investors pay close attention to leading indicators since they can signal upcoming trends.

Incomes are broken down by different demographics, like age, gender, level of education and ethnicity. These demographics can give insight into how wages change for certain groups. A trend that may affect what seems to be only one smaller group may actually suggest an income problem for the entire country, rather than just the group it initially affects.

  1. A single instance of unemployment rates doesn’t yield much value; however, comparing it to prior periods allows analysts to better understand the issue as a whole.
  2. Over 1.8 million professionals use CFI to learn accounting, financial analysis, modeling and more.
  3. This type of economic indicator is helpful for government agencies to set public policy, as without this type of data, they would not know the direction of the economy.
  4. A country with a strong currency can import products at a cheaper rate and sell its products overseas at higher foreign prices.
  5. This report acts like a leading indicator, but it’s actually a coincident indicator.

Prices, such as the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and consumer behavior are also important. Government agencies or private organizations collect economic indicators. The stock market is not necessarily an accurate leading indicator. Earning estimates could be wrong, and the stock market is vulnerable to manipulation.

Examples of Indicators

A single instance of unemployment rates doesn’t yield much value; however, comparing it to prior periods allows analysts to better understand the issue as a whole. Lagging indicators, such as gross national product (GNP), CPI, unemployment rates, and interest rates, are only seen after a specific economic activity occurs. As the name implies, these data sets show information after events have happened. Such trailing indicators are technical indicators that come after large economic shifts. Indicators like GDP, employment levels, and retail sales change with certain economic activities.

Indicators are statistics used to measure current conditions as well as to forecast financial or economic trends. GDP is usually expressed in comparison to the previous quarter or year. For example, if the GDP of a country is up 2% in 2018, the economy of that country has grown 2% since the previous measurement of GDP in 2017. Annual GDP figures are often considered the best indicators of the size of the economy.

Finally, economic indicators are somewhat open to interpretation. Consider an example where inflation has dropped from 4.6% to 4.5%. Is this considered a good change, or should the drop have been larger? Economists and policymakers often debate the appropriate approach for interpreting economic data. Though the numbers may be concrete, different interpretations may lead to drastically divergent conclusions. The most trusted economic indicators rely on data from reputable sources.


Indicators can be broadly categorized into economic indicators and technical indicators. In the world of investing, indicators typically refer to technical chart patterns deriving from the price, volume, or open interest of a given security. Common technical indicators include moving averages, moving average convergence divergence (MACD), relative strength index (RSI), and on-balance-volume (OBV).

The forward-looking yield curve can help project how future interest rates may impact stock or bond performance. For example, this analysis relies on how investments behaved during previous periods when the yield curve had a similar shape. Economic indicators are key stats about the economy that can help you better understand where the economy is headed. These indicators can help investors decide when to buy or sell investments.

This can include a wide range of influences, from macroeconomic conditions to minor details like weather patterns. As an indicator, the unemployment rate may not fully encapsulate all the factors contributing to an issue. They offer insights into current and potential future economic trends and conditions. While not directly related to the GDP, machine learning and artificial intelligence inflation is a key indicator for financial analysts because of its significant effect on company and asset performance. Inflation erodes the nominal value of an asset, which leads to a higher discount rate. Based on the fundamental principle of the Time Value of Money (TVM), it means that future cash flows are worth less in present terms.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Economic Indicators

So, they should be used in conjunction with other forms of analysis. Commonly used indicators of a company’s profitability include gross margin, operating margin, net margin, and return on equity (ROE). So far, the only country to not use GDP as an economic measure is the Kingdom of Bhutan, which uses the Gross National Happiness index as an alternative. A steadily declining CPI is an indicator of generally declining prices. The RSI compares the size of recent gains to recent losses to determine the asset’s price momentum, either up or down. Using tools like the MACD and the RSI, technical traders will analyze assets’ price charts looking for patterns that will indicate when to buy or sell the asset under consideration.

What Is an RSI Indicator?

Economists and analysts watch for longer-term trends in housing starts. However, the expenditure method is the more common approach because it includes consumer spending, which is accounts for majority of a country’s GDP. An economy may be strong if it has a robust amount of economic activity and job growth.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *