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A Review of Cyclical Indicators for the United States: Preliminary Results


  • Victor Zarnowitz


This paper represents a very early progress report on a new study of business cycle indicators for the United States. Our host organization, CIRET, is concerned with research on surveys of economic tendencies that cover broad areas of business, investment, and consumer behavior. These inquiries yield mainly qualitative data on plans and expectations of economic decision-making units. Such data are aggregated and also in a sense quantified in form of diffusion indexes (the Ifo Business Test and its components may serve as examples), but they are basically limited to showing only the direction and not the size of changes in the economic variables covered. A major purpose of compiling and analyzing these diffusion measures is to improve prediction of cyclical movements in business activity. This objective is the same as that pursued in the National Bureau studies of quantitative business cycle indicators -- the latest of which is the project to be discussed in this paper. Appraisals of the predictive records and potentials of these two time series data sets (the cyclical indicators and the expectational diffusion indexes) are therefore definitely an appropriate subject for consideration in this conference.

Suggested Citation

  • Victor Zarnowitz, 1973. "A Review of Cyclical Indicators for the United States: Preliminary Results," NBER Working Papers 0006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0006

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    Cited by:

    1. Boriss Siliverstovs, 2010. "Assessing Predictive Content of the KOF Barometer in Real Time," KOF Working papers 10-249, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    2. Boriss Siliverstovs, 2013. "Do business tendency surveys help in forecasting employment?: A real-time evidence for Switzerland," OECD Journal: Journal of Business Cycle Measurement and Analysis, OECD Publishing, Centre for International Research on Economic Tendency Surveys, vol. 2013(2), pages 129-151.
    3. Vojtech Benda & Lubos Ruzicka, 2007. "Short-term Forecasting Methods Based on the LEI Approach: The Case of the Czech Republic," Research and Policy Notes 2007/01, Czech National Bank, Research Department.

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