Business Cycle Properties of Selected U.S. Economic Time Series, 1959-1988
James H. Stock
Mark W. Watson
This paper catalogs the business cycle properties of 163 monthly U.S. economic time series
over the three decades from 1959 through 1988. Two general sets of summary statistics are
reported. The first set measures the comovement of each individual time series with a
reference series representing real economic activity. These statIstics focus on comovements at
business cycle horizons. The second set of statistics examines the predictive content of each of
the series for aggregate activity, relative to different sets of conditioning (or predictive)
variables. These statistics are constructed and presented in a way that facilitates comparisons
across series and across conditioning sets. They also provide new lists of leading indicators
based on predictive content for overall economic activity. Some of the results confirm
previously recognized empirical regularities, while others provide new or different insights into
the business cycle properties of various series.
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