OUTLOOK: The Strongest Signal of an Upturn

Using a new statistical telescope, Government economists peered into the future of the economy last week and found the strongest evidence yet that the long-awaited recovery should begin soon, perhaps even this month. They published for the first time a drastically revised index of twelve leading indicators—measures of economic activity that tend to turn up or down ahead of the general economy—calculated back to 1948. Result: after dropping for eleven straight months, the index rose 1% in March and 4.2% in April; the April increase was the largest on record. Looking back over their calculations, the statisticians found that in...