Economic indicators collect data on significant or revealing economic activities and use that data to predict where the economy was, is or is going.
Those statistics that predict the future are called leading indicators. Those statistics that help us understand the past are called lagging indicators. It's important to remember that lagging indicators might help us understand the present and future. Or maybe not. Nothing is ever certain and anything can happen!
There are more economic indicators than you can shake a stick at! Most of them come from the government and have to do with what you'd expect: unemployment, housing sales, retail sales, inflation, etc...
Here is the quick guide to government collected economic indicators. You can also use our database Economagic.
A more detailed collection of indicators is from the National Bureau of Economic Analysis.
In another post we'll talk about some privately collected economic indicators and some weird ones!