A Framework That Provides Clarity

During periods of “low visibility,” confusion reigns: for every indication of one trend, there seems to be a countertrend. The key is to glean from the collective wisdom of reliable leading indicators a clear signal that the economy is headed for a turn.


Business cycle

Business cycles consist of the alternating periods of expansion and contraction in the level of economic activity experienced by market-oriented economies. Learn more about business cycles and business cycle research »

Business cycle chronologies

Before there was a committee to determine U.S. business cycle dates, ECRI co-founder Geoffrey H. Moore decided all of those dates on the NBER's behalf from 1949 to 1978, and then served as the committee's senior member until he passed away in 2000. Using the same approach, ECRI has long determined recession start and end dates for 21 other countries. View our international business and growth rate cycle dates »

Coincident indicator

Coincident indicators turn in step with the economy and track the business cycle's progress.

Composite index

A composite index allows a wide range of data to be summarized without using an econometric model.

ECRI Weekly Update

On Friday mornings we call out key issues and provide brief updates to ECRI's outlook


Critical insights from the ongoing story told by the objective ECRI framework as it relates to current events, including emerging opportunities and threats.

  • U.S. Cyclical Outlook
  • International Cyclical Outlook


In-depth research on diverse topics from a unique cyclical perspective, including new research advances, major cyclical calls and urgent contemporary concerns.

  • U.S. Cyclical Outlook
  • International Cyclical Outlook

Future Inflation Gauge (FIG)

The FIG is a forward-looking measure of cyclical peaks and troughs in overall inflation. There is both a monthly and a weekly version of the FIG. The data starts in 1948.

Growth rate cycle

Even during periods when economies do not exhibit business cycle contractions, a business cycle will exhibit growth rate cycles — alternating periods of upswings and downswings in the economy's rate of growth.

Inflation cycle

Inflation cycles consist of alternating periods of rising and falling inflation. Inflation cycle downturns have a degree of correspondence with economic slowdowns, but sometimes begin before, rather than after, the start of a slowdown.

JoC-ECRI Industrial Price Index (IPI)

The JoC-ECRI Industrial Price Index (IPI) was created in 1985 by Geoffrey H. Moore, ECRI's founder, who pioneered the study of business cycles at the National Bureau of Economic Research, where a committee of economists that he established is still the official judge of when the U.S. economy goes into and out of a recession.

The IPI is based on the prices of 18 industrial commodities that are tracked by the index that is compiled every weekday by ECRI.

The IPI does not include agricultural commodities or precious metals such as gold or silver, but only materials that are used in industrial production, such as nickel, tin, aluminum, plywood, benzene, cotton, burlap and crude oil.

In addition, half the commodities in the index are not "exchange-traded" commodities, which means their prices are not established on the floors of any of the world's commodity exchanges. This serves as a reality check on the prices of the other half, so the index cannot be skewed if a hedge fund or a speculator tries to manipulate the price of a commodity.

Lagging indicator

Lagging indicators turn after the economy turns, and play a confirmatory role.

Leading indicator

Leading indicators consistently turn before the economy does.

Leading Home Price Index (LHPI)

The LHPI leads cyclical swings in real home prices. It is updated monthly with data starting in 1953.

U.S. Weekly Leading Index (WLI)

The WLI is a forward-looking composite leading index that anticipates cyclical turning points in U.S. economic activity by 2-3 quarters. Updates are available on Friday mornings to members at 9:00 AM and to the public at 10:30 AM. The monthly data starts in 1949, and the weekly data in 1967.

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