Here is an indicator that I’m following that appears to be a leading indicator for industrial production.
From the American Chemistry Council: Chemical Activity Barometer Continues Solid Growth in June; Signals Higher U.S. Business Activity Through End Of The Year
The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), expanded 0.8 percent in June following a revised 0.9 percent increase in May and 0.7 percent increase in April. All data is measured on a three-month moving average (3MMA). Accounting for adjustments, the CAB remains up 2.5 percent over this time last year, a marked deceleration of activity from one year ago when the barometer logged a 2.7 percent year-over-year gain from 2014. On an unadjusted basis the CAB jumped 0.4 percent in June, following a similar 0.4 percent gain in May. The CAB is signaling higher U.S. business activity through the end of the year.
AApplying the CAB back to 1919, it has been shown to provide a lead of two to 14 months, with an average lead of eight months at cycle peaks as determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The median lead was also eight months. At business cycle troughs, the CAB leads by one to seven months, with an average lead of four months. The median lead was three months. The CAB is rebased to the average lead (in months) of an average 100 in the base year (the year 2012 was used) of a reference time series. The latter is the Federal Reserve’s Industrial Production Index.
This graph shows the year-over-year change in the 3-month moving average for the Chemical Activity Barometer compared to Industrial Production. It does appear that CAB (red) generally leads Industrial Production (blue).
Currently CAB has increased over the last three months, and this suggests an increase in Industrial Production over the next year.