The Leading Indicators: A Short History of the Numbers That Rule Our World

Zachary Karabell
For too long, says author Zachary Karabell, we’ve adhered to outdated statistics for measuring economic health. Why follow a ’50s road map in the 21st century when newer, more useful guides are available?
Thursday, April 10, 2014
6:30 pm
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We’re bombarded with numbers that purport to tell us how our economy is doing and where it is headed. Statistics on unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence guide our actions, yet few know where they come from or what they mean.

In a discussion of his new book, Zachary Karabell explores these indicators — born of the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War — and the need to tap into a modern data revolution that makes far more useful information available. If you want to buy a home, look for a job, start a company, or run a business, you can formulate your own, more localized and meaningful indicators at the click of a button.

Karabell sits on the boards of the World Policy Institute and the New America Foundation.