What is the most significant economic indicator for the president?
For a president, all economic indicators are generally important. This is because the president is intensely interested in how well the country's economy is doing.
Right at this moment, the most important of the economic indicators is the unemployment rate. The presidential election is less than eight months away and President Obama's chances for reelection will depend in an important way on the unemployment rate.
The unemployment rate is the one indicator that probably means the most to a broad segment of society. It is easily understood and it has much more to do with how secure most people feel in their lives than indicators like housing starts or orders for durable goods do. Therefore, people pay a lot of attention to the unemployment rate and it could well determine whether President Obama wins a second term.