In economics, one might classify statistics that measure overall business activity as either leading indicators, lagging indicators, or coincident indicators. Leading indicators attempt to point toward a future activity while lagging indicators confirm a trend or pattern that has emerged. Coincident indicators look to track “real-time” activity to understand where the economy is today. With the rise of apps and faster data management by companies, economists may evaluate a whole host of “coincident indicators” that didn’t exist ten years ago.
For example, activity at restaurants would be considered a coincident indicator. In late May, a popular restaurant booking app reported in “real-time” that the number of seated diners at its restaurants was trending higher, suggesting that the food services industry may be starting to rebound.
Airlines have recently reported more booking, which may suggest Americans feel safer and more confident about the economy. Even the supply of toilet paper turned some heads when Google reported that searches were falling to near-normal levels.
With the rise of real-time data, it’s easy to consider throwing away the more traditional “leading and lagging” indicators and focusing instead on new, exciting coincident indicators. But over the years, we’ve learned that a balanced perspective is critical, especially during periods of economic and market volatility.
DisclosuresThe content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2020 FMG Suite.
 CNBC.com, May 27, 2020
 MarketWatch.com, May 21, 2020
 MarketWatch.com, May 20, 2020