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.




 

Thursday, August 13, 2020

 

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

August 13, 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 -5.47 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ended August 8 and -6.53 percent for August 1; 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 8 was due to a decline in initial unemployment insurance claims and increases in rail traffic and fuel sales, which more than offset decreases in electricity output and tax withholding. The WEI for the week of August 1 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 21.22 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 779k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll.
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf)
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)
 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

August 6, 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 -6.20 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ended August 01 and -7.01 percent for July 25; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.55 percent for the week ended February 29
  • Today’s increase in the WEI for the week of August 1 was driven by a decline in initial UI claims (the first value below 1 million since the week of March 14, 2020, in non-seasonally adjusted terms) and increases in rail traffic and tax withholding, which more than offset decreases in fuel sales and electricity output. The WEI for the week of July 25 was revised downward due to the continuing UI 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 23.44 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 869k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll.
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf)
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

July 30, 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 -6.60 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ended July 25 and -7.61 percent for July 18; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.55 percent for the week ended February 29
  • Today’s increase in the WEI for the week of July 25 was driven by a decline in initial UI claims and increases in fuel sales, electricity output, and tax withholding, which more than offset a decrease in rail traffic. The WEI for the week of July 18 was revised downward due to an increase in continuing UI claims, which provided a more negative signal than previously available data. 
  • As alternative scales, the current WEI implies a 24.63 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 917k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll.
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf)
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)


Thursday, July 23, 2020

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

July 23, 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 -7.08 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ended July 18 and -6.99 percent for July 11; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.54 percent for the week ended February 29.
  • Today’s decline in the WEI for the week of July 18 is due to an increase in initial UI claims (relative to the same time last year) and decreases in fuel sales and electricity production, which more than offset increases in railroad traffic and tax withholdings. The WEI for the week of July 11 was revised downward due to the continuing UI 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 26.02 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 974k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll. 
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf)
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

July 16, 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 -6.63 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ended July 11 and -7.21 percent for July 04; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.54 percent for the week ended February 29.
  • Today’s increase in the WEI for the week of July 11 is driven by increases in fuel sales, electricity production, and tax withholding, which more than offset an increase in initial UI claims and a decrease in railroad traffic (relative to this time last year). The WEI for the week of July 4 was revised downwards due to the continuing UI claims release, which, while lower than last week (relative to this time last year), still provided a more negative signal than previous data. 
  • As alternative scales, the current WEI implies a 24.68 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 920k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll. 
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf)
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

July 9, 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 -6.83 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ended July 4 and -7.66 percent for June 27; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.54 percent for the week ended February 29.
  • Today’s increase in the WEI for the week of July 04 is driven by increases in electricity production and rail traffic (relative to the same time last year) and a small decrease in initial UI claims, which more than offset declines in fuel sales and tax withholdings. The WEI for the week of June 27 was revised downwards due to the continuing UI claims release, which provided a weaker signal than previously available data.
  • As alternative scales, the current WEI implies a 25.29 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 944k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll. 
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf)
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

July 2, 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 -7.44 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ended June 27 and -7.91 percent for June 20; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.54 percent for the week ended February 29.
  • Today’s increase in the WEI for the week of June 27 is driven by increases in electricity output and fuel sales and a small decrease in initial UI claims, which more than offset decreases in tax withholdings and rail traffic relative to the same time last year. The WEI for the week of June 20 was revised downwards following a small decrease in continuing claims, since the release still provides a weaker signal than previously available data.
  • As alternative scales, the current WEI implies a 27.11 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 1018k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll. 
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf)
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

June 23, 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 -8.20 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ended June 20 and -7.74 percent for June 13; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.54 percent for the week ended February 29.
  • Today’s decrease in the WEI for the week of June 20 is due to a decrease in consumer confidence, which more than offset increases in retail sales and steel production. We anticipate an upward revision on Thursday when data series that have recently provided more positive signals are available. The WEI for the week of June 13 was revised upward following an increase in the staffing index, which provided a more positive signal than previously available data.
  • As alternative scales, the current WEI implies a 29.43 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 1112k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll. 
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf)
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)

Friday, June 19, 2020

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

June 18, 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 -8.39 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ended June 13 and -9.23 percent for June 06; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.54 percent for the week ended February 29.
  • Today’s increase in the WEI for the week of June 13 was driven by increases in electricity output (the highest year-over-year gain since December), fuel sales, railroad traffic, and tax withholdings as well as a decrease in initial UI claims. The WEI for the week of June 6 was revised upwards due to the release of continuing UI claims, which provided a more positive signal than previously available data.
  • As alternative scales, the current WEI implies a 29.98 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 1134k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll.
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf)
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx) 










Thursday, June 11, 2020

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

June 11, 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 -10.00 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ended June 06 and -9.60 percent for May 30; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.54 percent for the week ended February 29.
  • Today’s increase in the WEI for the week of June 6 reflects a fall in initial UI claims and increases in fuel sales, railroad traffic, electricity output, and tax withholdings. The WEI for the week of May 30 was revised upwards because today’s continuing UI claims release provided a more positive signal than previously available data.
  • As alternative scales, the current WEI implies a 34.86 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 1332k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll.
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf) 
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

June 4, 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 -10.08 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ended May 30 and -9.36 percent for May 23; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.58 percent for the week ended February 29.
  • Today’s increase in the WEI for the week of May 30 was led by the continued fall in initial UI claims, supported by increases in rail traffic and electricity output relative to the same time last year. These factors more than offset lower fuel sales and a small decrease in payroll withholdings. The WEI for the week of May 23 was revised upwards as the continuing UI claims release, while an increase over the prior week, was less negative than other data.
  • As alternative scales, the current WEI implies a 35.28 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 1343k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll. 
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf) 
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)





Thursday, May 28, 2020

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

May 28, 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 -9.87 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ended May 23 and -10.03 percent for May 16; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.58 percent for the week ended February 29.
  • Today’s increase in the WEI for the week of May 23rd was driven by a strong rebound of retail sales, the continued decline of initial UI claims, and modest rises in steel production, rail traffic, and tax withholdings. Fuel sales and electricity production releases have been delayed due to Memorial Day. The WEI for the week of May 16th was revised upwards due to the continuing UI claims release being more positive than other data, possibly due to claims from federal pandemic programs not being included, and a small increase in the staffing index.
  • As alternative scales, the current WEI implies a 34.63 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 1317k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll. 
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf) 
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

May 21, 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 -11.09 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ended May 16 and -10.17 percent for May 9; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.58 percent for the week ended February 29.
  • Today’s increase in the WEI for the week of May 16 is driven by a fall in initial UI claims (although the data remain elevated at 2.17 million, not seasonally adjusted). This outweighed a decrease in fuel sales and electricity output relative to a year ago, with rail traffic essentially unchanged. The WEI for the week of May 9 was revised upwards due to today’s continuing UI claims release, which provided a more positive signal than other sources.
  • As alternative scales, the current WEI implies a 38.85 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 1466k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll. 
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf) 
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

May 14, 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 -11.14 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ended May 09 and -10.91 percent for May 02; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.58 for the week ended February 29.
  • Today’s increase in the WEI for the week of May 09 was driven by a decrease in initial unemployment insurance (UI) claims and increases in fuel sales and electricity output. These factors more than offset a decrease in payroll withholdings and unchanged rail traffic. The upward revision to the WEI for the week of May 02 was due to a decrease in continuing UI claims, which may be due to some workers claiming benefits from pandemic relief programs instead of state programs.
  • As an alternative scale, the current WEI implies a 37.51 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 7238k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll. 
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf) 
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)

Professional Forecasters' Outlook

 


The Wall Street Journal came out with its monthly survey of economists today. The chart below, which I generated from the forecasts, speaks for itself.


Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

May 12, 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 -12.00 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ending May 09 and -11.14 percent for May 02; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.58 percent for the week ending February 29. 
  • Today’s decline in the WEI for the week of May 9 is a result of the weight placed on past values of the WEI in updates based on only partial data. This persistence outweighed modest recoveries in retail sales, consumer confidence, and steel production. The WEI for the week of May 2 was revised upwards after today’s release of the staffing index was less negative than previous data. 
  • As alternative scales, the current WEI implies a 40.09 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 7737k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll. 
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf) 
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

May 7, 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 -11.91 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ending May 02 and -10.90 percent for April 25; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.58 for the week ending February 29.
  • Today’s slight decline in the WEI for the week of 05/02 was driven by this morning’s initial UI claims release, which remained elevated (2.85 million, not seasonally adjusted), a decrease in electricity usage, and a fall in fuel sales relative to the same time last year. These factors more than offset modest weekly increases in rail traffic and payroll tax withholdings. Today’s continuing claims release (22.04 million not seasonally adjusted) for the week of 04/25 left that week’s WEI unchanged.
  • As alternative scales, the current WEI implies a 39.8 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 1,610k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll.
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf)
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

May 5, 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 -11.84 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ending May 02 and -10.90 percent for April 25; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.58 for the week ending February 29.
  • Today’s decline in the WEI for the week of May 2 is driven by decreases in steel production and retail sales, as well as a small drop in consumer confidence. The upward revision of the WEI for the week of April 25 is a result of the decline in this morning’s staffing index release being less negative than previously available data.
  • As alternative scales, the current WEI implies a 39.61 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 1603k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll. 
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf)
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

April 30, 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 -11.58 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ending April 25 and -10.86 percent for April 18; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.58 for the week ending February 29.
  • The WEI for the week of April 25 was essentially unchanged today as a sizeable decline in tax withholdings and small decrease in electricity usage (after adjusting for 2019 levels) were offset by a fall in initial UI claims relative to recent weeks, a substantial rise in fuel sales, and a modest increase in rail traffic. The WEI for the week of April 18 was revised upwards as this morning’s continuing UI claims release was better than expected.
  • As alternative scales, the current WEI implies a 38.83 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 1570k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll.
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf)
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)