A measure, often economic, that occurs before others. For example, the numbers of job advertisements and new housing approvals are leading indicators of economic growth. The opposite of a lagging indicator.
An economic indicator that changes before the economy has changed; examples include production workweek, building permits, unemployment insurance claims, money supply, inventory changes, and stock prices. see also coincident indicator, lagging indicator.
An indicator whose value changes prior to a change in the larger system of which it is a component. For example, housing starts are often cited as a leading indicator, because home construction usually leads an upturn in the economy.
These measures are considered the "drivers" of lagging indicators. There is an assumed relationship between the two which suggests that improved performance in a leading indicator will drive better performance in the lagging indicator. For example, spending more time with valued customers (a leading indicator) is hypothesized to drive improvements in customer satisfaction ( a lagging indicator).