The paper proposes a set of monthly business (growth-) cycle indicators for Germany, France, Italy and the euro area useful for
characterization of the cycle, and, most importantly, to assess the current economic outlook. These indicators are projections of quarterly aggregates on the space spanned by a set of regressors extracted from a large panel of monthly series. Being based on static linear combinations of monthly series, they do not suffer from the end-of-sample problem associated with traditional bilateral filters (HP filter). The indicators are used to: (1) study the degree of co-movement and synchronization across economies; (2) derive a dating of the cycle; (3) obtain the ‘stylized’ cyclical facts; (4) assess the predictive content of the panel for GDP growth. The monthly indicators are good forecasters of GDP performing often better than other simple methods. As expected, since the growth cycle indicator is a ‘smoothed’ estimate of the GDP growth, the best forecasts are obtained in terms of year-on-year (rather than quarter-on-quarter) GDP growth.