Economic indicators

While trying to prepare a set of economic indicators for my more official job (I’m not earning enough money from this web site to stop working and just type posts for this site), I have been pushed into looking at what indicators are available to describe the economic outlook in Europe in order to evaluate the evolution of the economic situation in the context of purchasing forecasts.

For this, it was important to try and assemble a coherent set of data from the freely available data. One of the very first things to be noticed is that the data is frequently available freely despite the extensive habit of including them into expensive reports that only quote part of the sources. I am not an economist, but I collected a few informations that may be useful to build this. Let’s share them here since it seems quite easy to use.


What   Published By Where
Gross domestic product (GDP) Describes the economic size of a country or region (This is often associated with economic wealth – but this is subject to controversy) 9:00 (GMT); Quarterly, about two months after the quarter EuroStat
Europe only
Report, raw data
Purchasing Managers Index (PMI index) The PMI is a composite index based on the seasonally adjusted diffusion indexes for five US indicators.
A PMI index over 50 represents growth or expansion within the manufacturing sector of the economy compared with the prior month. A reading under 50 represents contraction, and a reading at 50 indicates an equal balance between manufacturers reporting advances and declines in their business.
The ISM Manufacturing Report On Business® is issued on the first business day of each month. Institute for Supply Management™ (ISM)
US only
Bloomberg Euro-zone Retail Purchasing Managers Index (PMI(R) index) The Bloomberg Eurozone Retail PMI, compiled exclusively for Bloomberg by NTC Economics Ltd, questions more than 1,000 retail executives in Germany, France and Italy. These countries together represent approximately 75% of total Eurozone retail sales. National data are weighted together according to each country’s contribution to total Eurozone retail sales to form the Bloomberg Eurozone Retail PMI.

The survey tracks changes in retail sales, performance against sales targets, inventories, prices, employment and other key indicators. Data are published approximately one month ahead of government figures.
9:00 (GMT); monthly, first week of the month Bloomberg (published by NTC Economics Ltd)
Europe only
US Producer Price Index (PPI) Measures average changes in prices received by domestic producers for their output. The PPI was known as the Wholesale Price Index, or WPI, up to 1978. Over 10,000 PPIs for individual products and groups of products are released each month; Release dates US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
US only
Report, data, FAQ
Automotive index
Producer Price Indices (PPI) for OECD Countries and Major Non-Member Economies Producer prices are PPI for manufacturing. However, some countries do not produce a PPI and a wholesale price index is used as a proxy. In addition, some countries do not have an index which covers only manufacturing. Updated continuously/monthly OECD Main Economic Indicators (MEI) MEI data page, Producer Price data
EuroStat Employment structural indicator The employment rate is calculated by dividing the number of persons aged 15 to 64 in employment by the total population of the same age group. The indicator is based on the EU Labour Force Survey. Yearly European Central Bank and EuroStat
Europe only
Report, Yearly data tree, monthly data
Traded commodities (list) In the world of business, a commodity is an undifferentiated product, good or service that is traded based solely on its price, rather than quality and features. Daily traded.

Commodities exchanges include:

Euro-Zone labor costs Employers’ total cost of employing a labor force. 9:00 (GMT); Quarterly, three months after the quarter, near the middle of the month EuroStat
Europe only
Report, raw data
Worldwide Governance Indicators Aggregate governance research indicators for 213 countries for 1996–2005, for six dimensions of governance Yearly in September The World Bank Data, 1996-2005 report
What   Published By Where

Currently, I am still looking for good European-market replacements for the PPI index. If you have any good idea, your comments are welcome above.

Sources and useful additonal data

  • Investopedia
  • Forex Words describes precisely a number of terms and provides pointers to the publication of many indices.

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