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2004 | nr 74 | 51--67
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Business Cycle Indicators

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Business cycle indicators have proven to be useful tools for analysing alternating sequences of economic expansions and contractions known as business cycles. W. C. Mitchell and A. F. Burns originated the indicator approach that made extensive use of business cycle indicators in the mid-1930s at the NBER. It explores patterns of economic fluctuation that are defined by "business cycles ... [which] consist of expansions occurring at about the same time in many economic activities, followed by similarly general recessions, contractions and revivals which merge into the expansion phase of the next cycle." (Burns and Mitchell, Measuring Business Cycles, 1946, p. 21). Over subsequent decades, the approach was developed and refined, mostly at the NBER under the leadership of G. H. Moore. Starting in the late 1960s, the U.S. Department of Commerce published the business cycle indicator data and composite indexes of leading, coincident, and lagging indicators. In late 1995, the Business Cycle Indicators program was privatised, and The Conference Board took over the responsibility of maintaining the database and publishing the monthly report. (fragment of text)
  • The Conference Board, 2001, Business Cycle Indicators Handbook, pp. 13-21, 47-57, with minor abbreviations.
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