Economic Conditions

Refer to the present situation of a national or regional economy worldwide.

Author: Christy Grimste
Christy Grimste
Christy Grimste
Real Estate | Investment Property Sales

Christy currently works as a senior associate for EdR Trust, a publicly traded multi-family REIT. Prior to joining EdR Trust, Christy works for CBRE in investment property sales. Before completing her MBA and breaking into finance, Christy founded and education startup in which she actively pursued for seven years and works as an internal auditor for the U.S. Department of State and CIA.

Christy has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Maryland and a Master of Business Administrations from the University of London.

Reviewed By: Austin Anderson
Austin Anderson
Austin Anderson
Consulting | Data Analysis

Austin has been working with Ernst & Young for over four years, starting as a senior consultant before being promoted to a manager. At EY, he focuses on strategy, process and operations improvement, and business transformation consulting services focused on health provider, payer, and public health organizations. Austin specializes in the health industry but supports clients across multiple industries.

Austin has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and a Masters of Business Administration in Strategy, Management and Organization, both from the University of Michigan.

Last Updated:December 5, 2023

What are Economic Conditions?

Economic conditions refer to the present situation of a national or regional economy worldwide. These conditions change over time based on the movements in the business cycle, like the phase of inflation and deflation that is reflected as expansion or contraction in output. 

Generally, such phases are perceived as either positive when the economy is expanding or negative when it is contracting. 

The current economic condition of a country indicates the production and consumption scale and allocation level of the country’s resources. The laws of supply and demand determine economic agents' buying and supplying habits.

Nevertheless, the definition of economic conditions and their meaning varies significantly as it has an enormous scope considering the multiple variables associated with determining the present economic state. 

Understanding Economic Conditions

Economic conditions imply and give insights into a country’s economic destination and where the overall economy is going. Hence, it is essential for many people and must be analyzed to understand the current situation. 

For instance, the indicators do not reveal immediately, so signals of risk might come very late and affect the economy harshly. 

These indicators might not immediately show the result of the changes in interest rates or inflation by the supply and demand, affecting the prices slowly without notice and the economy in the aftermath.  

Also, such changes will bring different risks, which will not be visible immediately until passing a very long time.

Because of that, analysts try to regularly check the economy's current status and see the movement of different microeconomic and macroeconomic variables.

The economic evaluation shows whether the economy is healthy or unhealthy by examining the indicators and economic variables. 

In the end, any changes in a country's economy that are usually unseen would change the predictions and affect the final interpretations that involve making decisions based on these analyses. 

Thus, it shows the current trend of a country's economy, which helps people know whether it is profitable to invest in this country or not.

This analysis also helps people set future expectations about the prices of different goods and services and assess the health of other variables that affect the country's development. 

Factors affecting economic conditions 

The fluctuations in the economy arise from the microeconomic and macroeconomic variables that play a crucial role in defining and shaping the current moment of any economy, including individual consumption behavior, trade balances, exchange rates, and interest rates.

Three stakeholders/ economic units also control and manage these variables: governments, firms, and households. 

Governments' activities include buying goods from firms, collecting taxes from households and firms, and investing in new projects to develop their nations.

Firms' activities are linked with production decisions: the number of goods and their kind of production, the price of these manufactured goods, and the way of manufacturing these goods, which all implement factors of production to sell finished goods to households and governments. 

The activities of the household sector depend on either the consumption salary to buy goods from firms after paying taxes or the savings salary to invest the amount in trading securities and other financial plans. 

Therefore, the conditions prevailing in any economy matter for many individuals, including business owners and investors, since both aim to maximize profits through investment activities. 

Most countries nowadays follow a market-based economy which allows them to benefit from the minimal intervention of governments and rely on price fluctuations raised from the voluntary exchange, called the law of supply and demand. 

Therefore, business owners examine the current market performance to determine sales growth and customers’ appeal to their products. Through historical sales records with up-to-date economic state data, firms can predict the level of sales for their current and next year. 

Investors evaluate different economic conditions indicators like interest rates, inflation rates, exchange rates, purchasing power, and monetary and fiscal policies to manage their investment portfolios regularly.

A future expectation of a favorable situation would make investors optimistic and attract them to invest more as they would expect higher returns. Alternatively, a negative one would make them pessimistic, and they try to hedge their investments. 

Nevertheless, this concept is vital for economists because they regulate the market at the end, and they need to closely examine it to see if any adjustments are required and maintain the economy's good health to avoid any economic shock or financial crisis.

Economists need to understand and forecast a country's economy for the next three to six months as it is helpful to know if the economy is stable and doing well.

Globalization is a critical player in today's world. The high exposure and openness of economies and countries affect their national activities and would result in negative results if it is not well monitored.     

Indicators of economic conditions

Macroeconomic factors have a crucial role in understanding the current state of an economy. These factors can be examined using the three different indicators, which are categorized as leading, coincident, and lagging. 

These indicators give insight into the economic circumstances of a country that cover and examine the variables.

Each type is used independently or collectively to identify and measure the different economic situations multiple times. They are statistical tools that help policymakers, analysts, and economists understand more about a country's economy and the business cycle. 

1. Leading

It refers to forecasting the changes of any measurable variable before they occur for a given set of processes or trends. It usually denotes these changes before any economy shifts toward a specific direction, enabling policymakers to predict critical changes and interpret particular phenomena.  

It provides details on forecasting the future of markets, economies, and business performance in terms of time and duration. 

It predicts the economy in the short run because its accuracy, precision, and reliability vary. However, it is still beneficial in the long run as a warning sign. It is helpful to tell where the economy will go and predict the future movements of coincident indicators. 

This indicator examines different aggregate economic components such as money supply within an economy, average working hours, consumer confidence index, purchasing manager index, and customer expectation index. Usually, it contrasted with a lagging indicator. 

The USA, for example, established a composite Leading Economic Index that consists of ten indicators to forecast the US economy shortly, like stock prices, building permits, and interest rates.   

2. Coincident 

It is a macroeconomic measure representing data about a country's coexisting economic activity in a specific field. It changes simultaneously as the economy adjusts to provide a current indication of the country’s economy. 

It measures past data, not necessarily at the present moment, reporting the recent past. Lag arises due to the time spent collecting, organizing, analyzing, and revising data. Therefore, those different indicators have long/short time lags between the reported one and its actual occurrence.

Coincident economic indicators are used to pinpoint significant fluctuations in the business cycle and tell its status at the current data collection period. Such indicators can be personal income, retail sales, the productivity of industry, and the GDP

The Index of Coincident Economic Indicators consists of four economic statistics:

  1. Manufacturing and trade sales
  2. Industrial production
  3. Personal income
  4. Number of employees on non-agricultural payroll

It is a measure that examines a country's economic activities over a period, usually the previous month or quarter. It is a primary indicator because it defines the current position in the business cycle of a country's economy for a quarter, following a process called business cycle dating. 

This economic indicator is helpful when it is used with other leading and lagging indicators that provide a comprehensive picture of the economy in terms of where it is now and the changes expected in the future. 

3. Lagging

It is a measurement that sometimes changes after a change in correlated variables like financial, economic, or business variables. It represents trends and their changes as well as climacteric points in coincident indicators.

It has different helpful purposes, like defining the trend in a country, telling whether to buy/sell securities in financial markets or building organizational strategies for firms.

It is helpful to say whether a country’s economy has shifted. It measures corporate revenue, the unemployment rate, the balance of trade, and interest rates. These indicators are different from leading ones like the stock market as they are used to make future predictions.

In the business context, these lagging indicators are key performance indicators KPIs to measure business activity and performance. Firms usually use leading and lagging indicators to measure their performance. 

Moreover, it is a technical indicator using moving averages to compare economic variables and asset prices for trading.

Usually, this indicator confirms long-term trends as its role occurs after a considerable shift has happened, but not to predict them. Thus, it is an effective measure, especially in terms of leading indicators, as they are volatile in shorter periods, so fluctuations may result in an inaccurate outcome. 

The USA, for example, determines the value of the index from different variables, and it usually follows the changes in the economy, such as a change in consumer price index-CPI, the average prime rate charged by banks, and labor cost per unit output.

Evaluating Economic Health

Economic health focuses on maintaining stability for a country’s economy by which government and policymakers regularly check the different economic components of growth, high employment rates, and stable prices. 

It involves examining the efficiency, effectiveness, equality, and value in the production and consumption process and distribution of resources that aim to improve citizens’ lifestyles and living standards. 


Assessing the health of an indicator requires measurement tools to identify the current economic status by measuring the GDP and GNI of a country. They measure economic activities but differ in what they include.  

Gross Domestic Product is a well-known economic indicator that looks at the value of produced goods and services within the country's borders. At the same time, Gross National Income aims to assess the value derived from within and outside the country's borders.  

GDP examines the total market value of goods and services produced in a country within a year as it measures an economy's size and growth rate. It helps a central bank regulate its fiscal and monetary policies, yet it does not tell when the business cycle has ups and downs. 

It is also usually used by investors and market analysts because it aims to evaluate the overall size of the productive output of a nation. Economists make decisions based on this metric and other economic measures to decide on tax rates and government spending

GNI assesses the total monetary value of goods and services produced and income received at home and abroad by citizens and residents within a year. It is a useful alternative measure of GDP, especially when examining the total received income.

Furthermore, GNP- gross National Product is another alternative to GDP that evaluates the total value of goods and services produced by citizens, residents, and local and foreign companies. 

National Economic Condition 

The GNI, GDP, and GNP measures help analysts know the country’s economic health and tell whether the economy is strong or weak.

These indicators also help to know if the country's economy would benefit its citizens, residents, and companies because there is business and trading that require a thorough understanding of circumstances to ensure the quality of decisions made that are profitable. 

Ensuring a satisfactory level of growth, price stability, and high employment rate reflects the government's initiatives toward developing its economic country and represents economic strength or weakness. 

Strong and Weak Economies

A strong economy reflects a high growth rate in the economy, meaning that expansion in output would lead to a higher level of income and higher consumption. 

Also, there is a low percentage of inflation, and it is stable to the limit of not facing an increase in the percentage level of inflation and reaching a peak, as well as a low unemployment rate that affects a country's GDP. 

Additionally, a strong economy means a high export level, productivity, and investment, resulting in higher customer and business confidence. 

It implies a strong currency because of its high investment level, competitiveness, and productivity growth. This increases the demand for a country's exports in the global market, which leads to currency appreciation- an increase in the value of the country's currency. 

Because of a strong economy and political stability, investors are more likely to invest in that country and take advantage of higher returns. 

Countries like: the USA, China, and Japan are the best examples of strong economies. 

In contrast, a weak economy faces a low growth rate, and that country's economy experiences little to no overall macroeconomic growth, as there is low GDP and a high unemployment rate.

This weakness in the country's economy causes its citizens and residents to suffer due to lower income, no jobs, and low production and consumption activities. As a result, businesses will not be able to perform their activities as usual and may start to lay off employees. 

When prices increase, the demand for products and services will decrease, worsening the economy further. 

It would further decrease the currency's value, known as depreciation, and investors would not be attracted to invest in that economy, especially if there is political instability.

Countries that face weak economies are Burundi, Somalia, and the Central African Republic. 

Why Economic Conditions Matter for Investors and Businesses

Since changes in the economy affect many economic stakeholders of a country, addressing the extent of the impact on these stakeholders is crucial.

Because each contributor to the economy needs to know what kind of responsibilities and rights they should have, this requires deep knowledge and analysis of the country’s abilities to manage and stabilize its economy and politics. 

1. Impact on businesses

Firms operating in a domestic or foreign country need an appealing hub to start their business and generate profit. Their main goal is to maximize profit for their stakeholders and maintain a good reputation among their regular and potential clients. 

It often requires strategic management planning and careful analysis of external and internal factors where economic conditions take a role in determining the future of the many businesses to flourish or die.  

Thus, a firm must understand the level of its customers’ income determined by the current economic situation and design its product to fit its customers’ wants and needs. 

The level of inflation in the country affects the process of production from the beginning of the process till the end. Therefore, when a stable percentage of inflation keeps the cost of production low, the prices of products at which they are sold would also be low. 

That is why a reasonable stock price when investing requires a strong performance from the firm to maintain its operations and stay competitive in the industry.

2. Impact on individuals

Citizens and residents require many things in their lives, not only basic needs to live in good standards but also to ensure that their future generations will have benefits and security. Such scenarios can be achieved through financial plans that offer a wide range of financial protection.

Financial planning is designing a unique plan tailored for individuals’ needs and wants, whether for the short term or long term.

It involves setting realistic goals, making them simple, and having an adequate diversified mixture of different financial products, including insurance, retirement plans, and more. In addition, it usually examines personal factors such as age, number of dependents, and risk profile. 

Furthermore, it examines external factors like economic conditions, politics, interest rates, global problems, and inflation, which is why the economy plays a crucial role in many aspects of our lives. 

For one reason, a good economic environment reflects a good country’s growth rate, making businesses perform well. By that, their stocks’ prices would be attractive regarding their return and risk so that they would have extra income for the future. 

Along with stable and attractive interest rates on investments, it would be beneficial for the investor and more attractive. 

Researched and Authored by Noor H | LinkedIn 

Reviewed and Edited by Manya Bhardwaj  | LinkedIn

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