A More Timely and Useful Index of Leading Indicators
Robert H. McGuckin
Effectively predicting cyclical movements in the economy is a major challenge. While there are other approaches to forecasting, the U.S. leading index has long been used to analyze and predict economic fluctuations. We describe and test a new procedure for making the index more timely. The new index significantly outperforms its less timely counterpart and offers substantial gains in real-time out-of-sample forecasts of changes in aggregate economic activity and industrial production. It provides timely and accurate ex-ante information for predicting, not only the business cycle turning points, but the monthly changes in the economy.
business cycle, forecasting, indicators, leading index, times series
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