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Leading Indicators

Reading Q-A

Time required: 30 minutes

Illustration of leading indicators being pointed out by someone

This article on the leading indicators examines the economic indicators that help in forecasting economic strength.

In Class Handouts

(Note: the answer key is available at the St. Louis Fed's Econ Lowdown Teacher Portal. See the online assignment section for more information.)

As an Online Assignment

Visit the Reading Q&As in the St. Louis Fed’s Econ Lowdown Teacher Portal, to assign an online version of the student materials and to collect student scores on the questions. The materials are still free—but having them in the portal keeps students from accessing the answer key.

Related Resources

The Business Cycle – Econ Focus Reading Q&A

The Business Cycle – The Economic Lowdown Podcast Series

The Business Cycle – Classroom Economist: The Business Cycle

What Do Financial Market Indicators Tell Us? (Page One Economics)

National Economic Indicators

Economics and/or Personal Finance Standards addressed:

Voluntary National Content Standards in Economics

Standard 18: Fluctuations in a nation’s overall levels of income, employment, and prices are determined by the interaction of spending and production decisions made by all households, firms, government agencies, and others in the economy. Recessions occur when overall levels of income and employment decline.

  • Benchmark 3, Grade 12: A business cycle involves fluctuations of real GDP around its potential level.
  • Benchmark 4, Grade 12: Fluctuations of real GDP around its potential level occur when overall spending declines, as in a recession, or when overall spending increases rapidly, as in recovery from a recession or in an expansion.

Standard 19: Unemployment imposes costs on individuals and the overall economy. Inflation, both expected and unexpected, also imposes costs on individuals and the overall economy. Unemployment increases during recessions and decreases during recoveries.

  • Benchmark 5, Grade 12: Changes in total employment are an important indicator of economic performance and influence levels of real GDP.

Common Core Standards

Grades 6-12 Literacy in History/Social Studies and Technical Subjects
Key Ideas and Details

RH.11-12.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.

RH.11-12.2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.

Craft and Structure

RH.11-12.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including
analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text
(e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).

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