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S&P 500   3,647.29
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Layoffs Aren't the Solution to Your Profitability Crisis. Here's the Simple 4-Step Process You Should Be Following Instead.
How You Should Be Choosing Your Stocks (Ad)pixel
Is There Value In These Growth Stocks?
MarketBeat Podcast, 3 Stocks to Watch Newmont Mining, Walmart, AMC
How You Should Be Choosing Your Stocks (Ad)pixel
Build A Better Tech Portfolio With Jabil Inc.
US stocks end mixed a day after Dow entered a bear market
How You Should Be Choosing Your Stocks (Ad)pixel
Autodesk Is A Mature Company Still Acting Like A Growth Stock
Leaks on Russian gas pipelines raise concerns about sabotage
S&P 500   3,647.29
DOW   29,134.99
QQQ   274.48
Layoffs Aren't the Solution to Your Profitability Crisis. Here's the Simple 4-Step Process You Should Be Following Instead.
How You Should Be Choosing Your Stocks (Ad)pixel
Is There Value In These Growth Stocks?
MarketBeat Podcast, 3 Stocks to Watch Newmont Mining, Walmart, AMC
How You Should Be Choosing Your Stocks (Ad)pixel
Build A Better Tech Portfolio With Jabil Inc.
US stocks end mixed a day after Dow entered a bear market
How You Should Be Choosing Your Stocks (Ad)pixel
Autodesk Is A Mature Company Still Acting Like A Growth Stock
Leaks on Russian gas pipelines raise concerns about sabotage
S&P 500   3,647.29
DOW   29,134.99
QQQ   274.48
Layoffs Aren't the Solution to Your Profitability Crisis. Here's the Simple 4-Step Process You Should Be Following Instead.
How You Should Be Choosing Your Stocks (Ad)pixel
Is There Value In These Growth Stocks?
MarketBeat Podcast, 3 Stocks to Watch Newmont Mining, Walmart, AMC
How You Should Be Choosing Your Stocks (Ad)pixel
Build A Better Tech Portfolio With Jabil Inc.
US stocks end mixed a day after Dow entered a bear market
How You Should Be Choosing Your Stocks (Ad)pixel
Autodesk Is A Mature Company Still Acting Like A Growth Stock
Leaks on Russian gas pipelines raise concerns about sabotage

U.S. Economic Data

Below you will find a list of recent U.S. economic data reports. The federal government, large universities, and other organizations regularly publish reports showing the status of a specific measure of economic activity, such as durable good sales, unemployment and retail sales. By comparing the results of an economic report to the previous release of that report, investors can identify general economic data and trends. More about economic reports.

Date/TimeReportCountryPeriodActualExpectedPrevious
09/27 01:30 PMDallas Fed Services RevenuesUnited StatesSeptember5.9-7.2
09/27 01:30 PMTexas Serv Sect OutlookUnited StatesSeptember-5.4--5.7
09/27 01:00 PMConsumer Confidence United StatesSeptember108104.5103.2
09/27 01:00 PMRich Fed Comp. IndexUnited StatesSeptember0--8
09/27 01:00 PMNew Home Sales-Units United StatesAugust0.690.50.51
09/27 01:00 PMNew Home Sales Chg MM United StatesAugust28.8--12.6
09/27 01:00 PMRich Fed Mfg ShipmentsUnited StatesSeptember14--8
09/27 01:00 PMRich Fed, Services IndexUnited StatesSeptember0--12
09/27 12:00 PMCaseShiller 20 MM SAUnited StatesJuly-0.40.20.4
09/27 12:00 PMCaseShiller 20 MM NSAUnited StatesJuly-0.8-0.4
09/27 12:00 PMCaseShiller 20 YYUnited StatesJuly16.11718.6
09/27 12:00 PMMonthly Home Price YYUnited StatesJuly13.9-16.2
09/27 12:00 PMMonthly Home Price MMUnited StatesJuly-0.6-0.1
09/27 12:00 PMMonthly Home Price IndexUnited StatesJuly395.2-398
09/27 11:55 AMRedbook YY United States-11-10.5
09/27 11:30 AMDurables Ex-Transport United StatesAugust0.20.20.2
09/27 11:30 AMDurable Goods United StatesAugust-0.2-0.4-0.1
09/27 11:30 AMNondefe Cap Ex-Air United StatesAugust1.30.20.3
09/27 11:30 AMDurables Ex-Defense MM United StatesAugust-0.9-1.1
09/27 11:00 AMIPCA-15 Mid-Month CPI YYBrazilSeptember7.968.149.6
09/27 11:00 AMHungary Base RateHungarySeptember1312.7511.75
09/27 11:00 AMIPCA-15 Mid-Month CPIBrazilSeptember-0.37-0.2-0.73
09/27 11:00 AMBuild Permits R Chg MMUnited StatesAugust-8.5--10
09/27 11:00 AMBuild Permits R NumbUnited StatesAugust1.54-1.52
09/27 11:00 AMInterest RateNigeria-15.514.514
09/27 10:00 AMJobless Rate SAMexicoAugust3.3-3.2
09/27 10:00 AMJobless RateMexicoAugust3.53.53.4
09/27 10:00 AMTrade Balance SAMexicoAugust-3.62--4.4
09/27 10:00 AMTrade Balance, $MexicoAugust-5.5-4.46-5.96
09/27 07:00 AMMoney-M3 Annual GrwthEuropeAugust6.15.45.5
09/27 07:00 AMFlash Trd Bal Non-EUItalyAugust-5.79--2.83
09/27 05:00 AMPPI MMSwedenAugust3.3--1.5
09/27 05:00 AMTrade BalanceSwedenAugust-18.4--2.1
09/27 05:00 AMRetail Sales YYLithuaniaAugust-1.6--4.8
09/27 05:00 AMHousehold Lending Growth YYSwedenAugust5.6-5.9
09/27 05:00 AMRetail Sales MMLithuaniaAugust3-0.6
09/27 05:00 AMPPI YYSwedenAugust22-20.4
09/27 04:00 AMIndustry ConfidenceFinlandSeptember-1-2
09/26 06:00 PMEconomic Activity YYArgentinaJuly5.64.76.4
09/26 01:30 PMDallas Fed Mfg Bus IdxUnited StatesSeptember-17.2--12.9
09/26 01:00 PMInterest RateAngola-19.5-20
09/26 12:00 PMLeading IndicatorBelgiumSeptember-11.8-8.3-5.8
09/26 11:30 AMCurrent AccountBrazilJuly-4.140.51.33
09/26 11:30 AMForeign Direct Investm'tBrazilJuly7.723.15.2
09/26 11:30 AMNational Activity IndexUnited StatesAugust0-0.27
09/26 11:00 AMCPI YYZimbabweSeptember280.4-285
09/26 11:00 AMCPI MMZimbabweSeptember3.5-12.4
09/26 10:00 AMFGV Consumer ConfBrazilSeptember89-83.6
09/26 10:00 AMIGAE Econ Activity MMMexicoJuly0.40.3-0.3
09/26 10:00 AMIGAE Econ Activity YYMexicoJuly1.31.61.6
09/26 07:30 AMImportsHong KongAugust-16.3--9.9
09/26 07:30 AMExportsHong KongAugust-14.3--8.9
09/26 06:00 AMCapacity UtilizationTurkeySeptember77.4-76.7
09/26 06:00 AMManufacturing ConfidenceTurkeySeptember99.9-102.1
09/26 04:00 AMImport Prices YYFinlandAugust33.1-32.5
09/26 04:00 AMManufacturing Output MMSingaporeAugust21.5-2.3
09/26 04:00 AMManufacturing Output YYSingaporeAugust0.5-0.60.6
09/26 04:00 AMPPI YYFinlandAugust27-28.9
09/26 04:00 AMExport Prices YYFinlandAugust26.9-31
09/26 03:00 AMCustoms-Based Trade DataThailandAugust-4.2-3.15-3.66
09/26 03:00 AMCustom-Based Import DataThailandAugust21.317.923.9
09/23 07:00 PMUSDA-Cattle On FeedUnited StatesSeptember100100101
09/23 07:00 PMUSDA-Cattle Placed On FdUnited StatesAugust10097.3102
09/23 07:00 PMUSDA-Cattle MarketedUnited StatesAugust106105.996
09/23 02:00 PMBudget, Year-To-Date, C$CanadaJuly6.33-10.2
09/23 02:00 PMBudget Balance, C$CanadaJuly-3.87-4.88
09/23 11:30 AMRetail Sales Ex-Autos MMCanadaJuly-3.1-1.20.8
09/23 11:30 AMRetail Sales MMCanadaJuly-2.5-21.1
09/23 10:30 AMFX Reserves, USDIndia-545.65-550.87
09/23 10:30 AMBank Loan GrowthIndia-16.2-15.5
09/23 10:30 AMDeposit GrowthIndia-9.5-9.5
09/23 09:00 AMCBI Distributive TradesUnited KingdomSeptember-201037
09/23 07:00 AMIndustrial Output YYTaiwan, Province of ChinaAugust3.68-1.12
09/23 07:00 AMUnemployment RatePolandAugust4.84.94.9
09/23 07:00 AMForeign Arrivals YYTurkeyAugust58.3-52.84
09/23 06:30 AMForex ReservesThailand-209.7-213.8
09/23 06:30 AMCurrency SwapsThailand-28.7-28
09/23 06:00 AMGDP YYSpainQ26.86.36.3
09/23 06:00 AMGross Wages YYHungaryJuly15.3-15.4
09/23 06:00 AMGDP Final QQSpainQ21.51.11.1
09/23 06:00 AMReservesMalaysia-106.3-108.2
09/23 05:00 AMCredit Indicator YYNorwayAugust5.2-5.2
09/23 05:00 AMIndustrial Output MMLithuaniaAugust3.1-6.5
09/23 05:00 AMIndustrial Output YYLithuaniaAugust15.2-7.2
09/23 04:00 AMConsumer Price Index YYSingaporeAugust7.57.27
09/23 03:30 AMGDP Final SA QQNetherlandsQ22.62.62.6
09/23 03:30 AMGDP Final NSA YYNetherlandsQ25.15.35.3
09/22 08:00 PMPPI Growth MMKorea, Republic ofAugust-0.3-0.3
09/22 08:00 PMPPI Growth YYKorea, Republic ofAugust8.4-9.2
09/22 07:00 PMCold Storage- FCOJ StockUnited StatesAugust0.4-0.49
09/22 07:00 PMCold Storage-Beef StocksUnited StatesAugust515.68-510.84
09/22 07:00 PMCold Pork Belly StocksUnited StatesAugust32.49-42.44
09/22 06:00 PMCurrent AccountArgentinaQ2-0.89-0.7-1.13
09/22 02:00 PMKC Fed ManufacturingUnited StatesSeptember2--9
09/22 02:00 PMKC Fed Composite IndexUnited StatesSeptember1-3
09/22 02:00 PMCPI MMBahrainAugust0.2-0.9
09/22 02:00 PMCPI YYBahrainAugust4-3.9
09/22 01:30 PMEIA-Nat Gas Chg BcfUnited States-1039377
09/22 01:00 PMConsumer Confid. FlashEuropeSeptember-28.8-25.8-24.9
09/22 01:00 PMLeading Index Chg MMUnited StatesAugust-0.3-0.1-0.4
What economic reports are most valuable to investors?

Economic reports help investors stay ahead of trends that shape the market

Economic reports contain data about various sectors of the U.S. and global economy. These reports come out on a set schedule by different departments of the Federal Government. For example, on the first Friday of every month investors receive the monthly jobs creation report and unemployment rate.

Each monthly economic report (i.e. economic indicator) measures a particular part of the economy. As standalone reports, they tell a limited story. But put together, they give analysts and investors the data they need to assign an educated guess about the direction of individual securities or the broader market.

In this article, we’ll explain the most common categories of economic reports. We’ll also provide a list of the agencies that are most responsible for producing the report. We’ll review the difference between a leading indicator, lagging indicator and coincident indicator and we’ll conclude by reviewing how investors can use these reports to ensure they are getting the most from them.

How to Understand the Different Categories of Economic Reports

The general categories of economic reports are:

  • Business activity – this category provides data regarding wholesale inventories, industrial production, regional manufacturing surveys (also called the “Business Outlook Survey”) and construction spending
  • Business inventories – this category provides data related to business inventories
  • International – this category provides data regarding international trade including our trade balance and export prices as well as international capital flows
  • Sales – this category reports automobile and truck sales along with retail sales
  • Orders – this category tracks data related to durable goods orders and factory orders
  • Real Estate – this category reports data on housing starts and building permits as well as new home sales
  • Production – this category measures Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – including real GDP. Reports in this category will also provide data on productivity and costs
  • Consumer – this is one of the more closely watched categories that reports on the use of consumer credit, the employment cost index and data regarding personal income and consumption
  • Employment – this is another closely watched category that includes the employment report which reports hourly earnings and nonfarm payrolls. Other indicators in this category track movement in the labor force including initial jobless claims and job openings
  • Price Increase (Inflation) – this category delivers two of the most commonly referenced economic indicators the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Producer Price Index (PPI)
  • Government – this category is essentially a report on the U.S. Treasury Budget (i.e. our nation’s balance sheet)
  • Monetary – this category gives a report on the nation’s money supply using M2 – a measure commonly used by central banks. This report is closely related to our nation’s monetary policy.

What Government Agencies Issue Economic Reports?

There are many U.S. government agencies that issue economic reports. The most common reports come from the following agencies:

  • S. Census Bureau
  • S. Treasury Department
  • Federal Reserve
  • Philadelphia Fed Index
  • S. Bureau of Economic Analysis
  • S. Department of Commerce
  • S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Federal Reserve Board

What is the Difference Between Leading, Lagging and Coincident Indicators?

As we mentioned above, economic indicators are snapshots that highlight different aspects of economic activity. However, it would be virtually impossible to capture all the data needed in real time. For that reason, indicators are given one of three classifications:

  • Leading indicators - A phrase you’ll hear frequently in the media are reports on leading economic indicators. A leading indicator means a data point or a trend that begins to happen before it is detected in the overall economy. In this way leading indicators are said to signal what may happen in the future.

    These indicators include but are not limited to retail sales, housing starts and new home sales. The stock market, while not an economic report, is also considered a key leading indicator. An increase or decline in these forward-looking areas may trigger a subsequent increase or decrease in other areas of the economy.

  • Lagging Indicators - The opposite of leading indicators are lagging indicators. These indicators provide data that point out what is already being reflected in the economy. In other words, they are telling investors what has already happened.

    Lagging indicators include some of the most closely watched indicators such as unemployment (for people to be counted in the survey they have to already be unemployed), Gross domestic product (which tells you how strong the economy was at a certain period of time). The Consumer Price Index (CPI) which provides a broad measurement of inflation is also considered to be a lagging indicator as are business inventories. In these cases, analysts look to assess the strength of a trend.

  • Coincident indicators - As the name suggests, coincident indicators are occurring at approximately the same time as the changes they are signaling. Personal income would fall into this category because these should rise as an indication of a strong economy. Conversely, investors would expect personal income to decline in an economy that is weakening. Interest rates are another closely watched economic report that is considered a coincident indicator.

What Economic Reports are Considered Most Valuable to Investors?

Some economic reports are more important to an investor’s portfolio than others. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is one of the most valuable reports because it provides an overall scorecard of how the country is doing economically.

GDP measures the market value of all the goods and services produced in the economy over a given period of time. It is reported quarterly and is presented on an annualized percent basis. As an investor, it is important to understand the context behind the GDP number. GDP growth is typically a byproduct of an expanding economy. A declining GDP is showing that the rate of economic growth is slowing. Two consecutive quarters of negative GDP indicates that the economy is in a recession.

That brings up an additional point when considering the value of these reports. Some of these are very industry focused (such as retail and housing). Every investor has to consider the data provided by an economic report based on the risk to their portfolio.

  • For example, if you are invested in financial services stocks, you’ll want to pay attention to the direction of interest rates as those will be among the stock most affected by interest rate changes. But you’ll also want to pay attention to housing data because that will affect the mortgage market.
  • If you are investing in a commodity such as crude oil, you will want to pay particular attention to crude oil prices and oil and gas production numbers.
  • If you’re invested in countries that do business internationally, you’ll want to track exports to see how well their products will be selling overseas.

What are the Strengths and Limitations of Economic Reports?

Like any statistical measurement, every economic indicator has strengths and weaknesses. Some have large sample sizes; some have much smaller (or narrow geographic) samples. Some indicators, such as retail sales, can be extremely sensitive to seasonal adjustments. Therefore, investors should look at a variety of indicators before forming overall conclusions about the state of the economy, and particular about how it may affect any individual stock or a category of securities.

By taking the time to understand the strengths and limitations of different reports, it’s possible for investors to use various reports in tandem to help identify trends. For example, is a sudden decline in retail sales supported by lower personal expenditures, or are other factors weighing on the number? Brick-and-mortar stores can be affected by weather patterns that can skew the data (i.e. consumers may not be spending at all because they’re not leaving their home). If a report shows increased new factory orders, are there concurrent increases in factory shipments or in durable goods?

Also, because economic reports only provide a snapshot of the economy, they are best used in comparison to economic reports from previous months or even a year-over-year view. This can help smooth out seasonal differences or other anomalies that can affect the data.

The Final Word on Economic Reports

Every week, investors receive economic reports that provide snapshots on the state of the economy in our country and of the world economy. The economic reports are divided into three categories: lagging indicators, leading indicators, and coincident indicators.

Investors need to pay close attention to economic indicators. These free, publicly available reports provide valuable data on the state of the economy that would be virtually impossible for an individual investor to compile on their own. Because they are released on a consistent schedule, investors are assured of receiving the information at the same time as other investors.

In a 24-hour news cycle, many analysts will try to provide early analysis of what the reports will say. Rather than focus on a given number, investors should pay attention to this commentary to gain a better understanding of what the numbers mean.

Economic reports, while very concise, are generally just a compilation of raw data. Any decisions regarding a change in asset allocation or investment strategy requires a deeper context of what trends the reports may be revealing.

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