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Economic indicators are statistical measurements of current business conditions.
Changes in leading indicators, including those that track factory orders, stock prices, the money supply, and consumer confidence, forecast short-term economic strength or weakness.
In contrast, lagging indicators, such as business spending, bank interest rates, and unemployment figures, move up or down in the wake of changes in the economy.
The Conference Board, a nonprofit business research firm, releases its weighted indexes of leading, lagging, and coincident indicators every month.
Though the individual components are also reported separately throughout the month, the indicators provide a snapshot of the economy's overall health.