Economic Index Background
Decision Analyst's Economic Index is based on a monthly Internet survey designed to produce a snapshot of current U.S. economic activity, as seen through the eyes of representative consumers living in the respective countries.
The Index itself is calculated from nine different economic measurements, using a sophisticated econometric model. The nine measures are:
- Expected trend for stocks and mutual funds over the next six months
- Availability of new jobs in region
- Price trends for goods and services
- Respondents' employment status
- Expectations of layoffs and staff reductions at place of employment
- Changes in staffing levels at place of work
- Estimate of current level of business activity at place of work
- Credit availability (relationship of spending to available credit limits)
- Purchase intent over next 12 months for high-ticket items
These measures are compiled from an online survey of several thousand households balanced by gender, age, and geography. The survey is conducted during the last 10 days of each month, and the new Index value is calculated immediately thereafter.
Interpreting The Index
Although the Economic Index is not a precise measure of absolute economic activity, it is nonetheless a remarkably powerful tool for understanding and predicting the economy. With its emphasis on measuring consumer opinions and perceptions, it provides genuine insight into that great intangible behind economic growth—confidence. There are two ways of interpreting the Economic Index. First, its "direction"—whether it is rising or falling. Second, the values themselves provide a reliable guide—when the Index is greater than 110, it tends to signal an expanding economy. An Index value of 100 to 110 suggests a stagnant economy, and below 100 generally indicates economic contraction.
The International Index
Alongside the main U.S. Economic Index, Decision Analyst also conducts concurrent economic surveys in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States, and Venezuela. The Economic Index for a few of these countries are released and can be viewed on our Press Release Archives.
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