The month of January is named after the Roman god Janus, who was imagined as having two faces: one looking toward the past, the other looking toward the future. In a similar manner, economists look in both directions to better understand economic trends. But instead of two faces, they use economic measures called indicators.The Conference Board Leading Economic Index includes 10 components: weekly hours for manufacturing workers, initial unemployment insurance claims, consumer expectations for business conditions, stock prices, credit activity, interest-rate spread between 10-year Treasury bonds and the federal funds rate, building permits, and three separate measures of manufacturers’ new orders. These all tend to signal potential shifts in the broader economy. For example, when manufacturers’ orders increase, the economy may be growing. Conversely, a drop in orders could signal a downturn.