Bronson's Population-Adjusted Coincident Economic Index

by: Doug Short

Bob Bronson's guest commentary on Capital Market Forecasts published earlier this week included a chart of his population-adjusted version of the Conference Board's Coincident Economic Index (CEI) since 1980. A chart annotation mentioned a companion chart going back to 1959, which triggered a reader request to see that longer-term perspective.

Here is the companion chart.

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(Click chart to enlarge)
The important lesson of this chart is that some data series can become increasingly misleading over long time frames if we don't adjust for changes in population. Bob's data adjustment of the Conference Board's Coincident Economic Index puts a dramatically different perspective on the strength of the current economic recovery.

Adjusting for population growth is a practice that I've increasingly incorporated in my own economic research. See, for example, the following: