Sunday, September 27, 2020

 

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

September 24, 2020

 

Daniel Lewis, New York Fed
Karel Mertens, Dallas Fed
James Stock, Harvard University

The WEI is an index of 10 weekly indicators of real economic activity, scaled to have the units of four-quarter percent change of real GDP.

  • The WEI is currently -4.50 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ended September 19 and -5.91 percent for September 12; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.55 percent for the week ended February 29.
  • The increase in the WEI for the week of September 19 was due to increases in fuel sales, rail traffic, and tax withholding, which more than offset an increase in initial unemployment insurance claims and a decrease in electricity output. The WEI for the week of September 12 was revised downward due to an increase in continuing unemployment insurance claims (relative to the same time last year) and differences in the way series are weighted from the second revision to the final estimate.
  • As alternative scales, the current WEI implies a 18.28 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 660k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll.
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf)
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)
 

Monday, September 21, 2020

 

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

September 17, 2020

 

Daniel Lewis, New York Fed
Karel Mertens, Dallas Fed
James Stock, Harvard University

The WEI is an index of 10 weekly indicators of real economic activity, scaled to have the units of four-quarter percent change of real GDP.

  • The WEI is currently -5.11 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ended September 12 and -5.07 percent for September 5; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.55 percent for the week ended February 29.
  • The decline in the WEI for the week of September 12 was due to decreases in fuel sales, electricity output, tax withholding, and rail traffic, which more than offset a fall in initial unemployment insurance claims. The WEI for the week of September 5 was revised downward due to the continuing unemployment insurance claims release, which while lower than the prior week, still provided a more negative signal than previously available data.
  • As alternative scales, the current WEI implies a 20.13 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 735k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll.
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf)
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)
 
 
 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

 

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

September 10, 2020

 

Daniel Lewis, New York Fed
Karel Mertens, Dallas Fed
James Stock, Harvard University

The WEI is an index of 10 weekly indicators of real economic activity, scaled to have the units of four-quarter percent change of real GDP.

  • The WEI is currently -4.26 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ended September 5 and -4.80 percent for August 29; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.55 percent for the week ended February 29.
  • The increase in the WEI for the week of September 5 was due to increases in steel production, rail traffic, and tax withholding, which more than offset an increase in initial unemployment insurance claims and a decline in retail sales. The WEI for the week of August 29 was revised downward due to an increase in continuing unemployment insurance claims, which more than offset an increase in the staffing index.
  • As alternative scales, the current WEI implies a 17.56 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 631k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll.
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf)
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)

 
 

Friday, September 4, 2020

 

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

September 3, 2020

 

Daniel Lewis, New York Fed
Karel Mertens, Dallas Fed
James Stock, Harvard University

The WEI is an index of 10 weekly indicators of real economic activity, scaled to have the units of four-quarter percent change of real GDP.


  • The WEI is currently -4.41 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ended August 29 and -5.31 percent for August 22; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.55 percent for the week ended February 29.
  • The increase in the WEI for the week of August 29 was due to a decline in initial unemployment insurance claims (relative to the same time last year) and increases in electricity output and tax withholding, which more than offset declines in fuel sales and rail traffic. The WEI for the week of August 22 was revised downward due to the continuing unemployment insurance claims release, which while lower than the prior week, still provided a more negative signal than previously available data.
  • As alternative scales, the current WEI implies an 18.02 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 650k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll.
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf)
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)
 
 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

 

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

August 27, 2020

 

Daniel Lewis, New York Fed
Karel Mertens, Dallas Fed
James Stock, Harvard University

The WEI is an index of 10 weekly indicators of real economic activity, scaled to have the units of four-quarter percent change of real GDP.


  • The WEI is currently -4.91 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ended August 22 and -6.16 percent for August 15; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.55 percent for the week ended February 29.
  • The increase in the WEI for the week of August 22 was due to a decline in initial unemployment insurance claims and increases in fuel sales, rail traffic, and tax withholding, which more than offset a decline in electricity output. The WEI for the week of August 15 was revised downward due to the continuing unemployment insurance claims release, which while lower than the prior week, still provided a more negative signal than previously available data.
  • As alternative scales, the current WEI implies a 19.53 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 711k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll.
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf)
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)

Thursday, August 20, 2020

 

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

August 20, 2020

 

Daniel Lewis, New York Fed
Karel Mertens, Dallas Fed
James Stock, Harvard University

The WEI is an index of 10 weekly indicators of real economic activity, scaled to have the units of four-quarter percent change of real GDP.

 
  • The WEI is currently -5.73 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ended August 15 and -6.07 percent for August 08; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.55 percent for the week ended February 29.
  • The increase in the WEI for the week of August 15 (relative to the final estimate for August 8) was due to an increase in electricity output, which offset an increase in unemployment insurance initial claims and declines in fuel sales, tax withholding, and rail traffic (relative to the same time last year). The WEI for the week of August 8 was revised downward due to the continuing unemployment insurance claims release, which while lower than the prior week, still provided a more negative signal than previously available data.
  • As alternative scales, the current WEI implies a 21.99 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 811k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll.
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf)
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)
 

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

 

Professional Forecasters' Outlook - August Update

 
On May 14 I posted a plot of the distribution of forecasts from the Wall Street Journal's monthly survey of economists. Here is the history of these plots, for surveys from May, June, July, and August, in reverse chronological order. 

The survey comes out around the 12th of the month. Changes in the outlook represent becoming more optimistic, as they were in June and July, or less, as they are in August. The August forecasts are about back to the gloomy outlook in May. 

The spread of the distribution of forecasts has tightened since May. However, the spread of the forecast doesn't capture uncertainty - it is just the dispersion of the point forecasts, not a representation of the composite uncertainty about the economists' forecasts.