It is important to note that as an AI language model, I do not have real-time data and my responses are based on general knowledge up until September 2021. The specific economic indicators that were most surprising to economists may vary depending on the time frame, region, and individual expert opinions. However, here are ten economic indicators that have been notable or surprising in recent years:
1. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Growth: Unexpectedly high or low GDP growth rates can be surprising to economists, indicating either stronger or weaker economic performance than expected.
2. Unemployment Rate: Large shifts in the unemployment rate can be surprising, especially if there is an unexpected increase or decrease in joblessness levels.
3. Inflation Rate: Inflation levels that deviate significantly from forecasted or target rates can be surprising to economists. Unexpected spikes or deflation can have substantial impacts on an economy.
4. Stock Market Performance: Rapid gains or losses in stock market indices can be unexpected and have implications for investor sentiment and overall economic confidence.
5. Consumer Confidence Index: Unexpected shifts in consumer sentiment can indicate changes in spending behavior and overall economic health.
6. Housing Market Activity: Surprising changes in housing starts, home sales, or price fluctuations can have significant implications for the broader economy.
7. Trade Balance: Unanticipated surpluses or deficits in the trade balance can highlight unexpected shifts in international trade dynamics and potentially impact a country’s overall economic performance.
8. Business Investment: Unexpectedly high or low levels of business investment can signal changing business sentiment and future economic growth prospects.
9. Retail Sales: Significant variations in retail sales figures, especially during key shopping seasons, can be surprising and may indicate shifts in consumer spending patterns.
10. Consumer Price Index (CPI): Unexpected changes in the CPI, which measures inflation in consumer goods and services, can be surprising and may indicate rapid price increases or decreases that impact households.
These are general indicators that economists closely monitor, but it is essential to consider that surprises can arise from various economic factors and events, especially during unprecedented times or when unexpected shocks occur.