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The Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators: How to Make It More Timely

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  • Robert H. McGuckin
  • Ataman Ozyildirim
  • Victor Zarnowitz

Abstract

A major shortcoming of the U.S. leading index is that it does not use the most recent information for stock prices and yield spreads. The index methodology ignores these data in favor of a time-consistent set of components (i.e., all of the components must refer to the previous month). An alternative is to bring the series with publication lags up-to-date with forecasts and create an index with a complete set of most recent components. This study uses tests of ex-ante predictive ability of the U.S. leading index to evaluate the gains to this new 'hot box' procedure of statistical imputation. We find that, across a variety of simple forecasting models, the new approach offers substantial improvements.

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  • Robert H. McGuckin & Ataman Ozyildirim & Victor Zarnowitz, 2001. "The Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators: How to Make It More Timely," NBER Working Papers 8430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8430
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    1. Kathleen Dorsainvil, 2006. "Explaining Economic Performance in the Haitian Economy," Economía Mexicana NUEVA ÉPOCA, , vol. 0(1), pages 125-145, January-J.
    2. Bouwman, Kees E. & Jacobs, Jan P.A.M., 2011. "Forecasting with real-time macroeconomic data: The ragged-edge problem and revisions," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 784-792.
    3. Rafal Kasperowicz, 2010. "Identification Of Industrial Cycle Leading Indicators Using Causality Test," Equilibrium. Quarterly Journal of Economics and Economic Policy, Institute of Economic Research, vol. 5(2), pages 47-59, December.
    4. Michael Meow-Chung Yap, 2009. "Assessing Malaysia’s Business Cycle indicators," Monash Economics Working Papers 04-09, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    5. Joannes Mongardini & Tahsin Saadi-Sedik, 2003. "Estimating Indexes of Coincident and Leading Indicators; An Application to Jordan," IMF Working Papers 03/170, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Sonia de Lucas Santos & M. Jesús Delgado Rodríguez & Inmaculada Álvarez Ayuso & José Luis Cendejas Bueno, 2011. "Los ciclos económicos internacionales: antecedentes y revisión de la literatura," Cuadernos de Economía - Spanish Journal of Economics and Finance, ELSEVIER, vol. 34(95), pages 73-84, Agosto.
    7. Castilla, Adolfo, 2015. "Proyecto LINK y Econometría de Alta Frecuencia: Las últimas aportaciones econométricas de Lawrence R. Klein /LINK Project and High Frequency Econometrics: Recent Econometric Contributions of Lawrence ," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 33, pages 421-450, Mayo.
    8. Agne Reklaite, 2011. "Coincident, leading and recession indexes for the Lithuanian economy," Baltic Journal of Economics, Baltic International Centre for Economic Policy Studies, vol. 11(1), pages 91-108, July.
    9. Heij, C. & van Dijk, D.J.C. & Groenen, P.J.F., 2009. "Macroeconomic forecasting with real-time data: an empirical comparison," Econometric Institute Research Papers EI 2009-27, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Econometric Institute.
    10. Kajal Lahiri & Herman O. Stekler & Wenxiong Yao & Peg Young, 2003. "Monthly Output Index for the U.S. Transportation Sector," Discussion Papers 03-12, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
    11. Dagum, Estela Bee, 2010. "Business Cycles and Current Economic Analysis/Los ciclos económicos y el análisis económico actual," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 28, pages 577-594, Diciembre.
    12. Andrew Filardo, 2004. "The 2001 US recession: what did recession prediction models tell us?," BIS Working Papers 148, Bank for International Settlements.

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