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 September
The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), expanded 0.4 percent in September following a 0.4 percent gain in August and a 0.7 percent gain in July and June. Accounting for adjustments, the CAB is up 3.7 percent over this time last year, an improvement over prior months. All data is measured on a three-month moving average (3MMA). On an unadjusted basis the CAB climbed 0.2 percent in September, following a 0.4 percent gain in August.
Applying the CAB back to 1912, it has been shown to provide a lead of two to fourteen 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 solidly over the last several months, and this suggests an increase in Industrial Production over the next year.