Weekly Economic Index (WEI)
March 31, 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 -3.04 percent, scaled to Q1 4-quarter GDP growth, for the week ending March 28; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.58 for the week ending February 29.
- Today’s update of the WEI reflects both new incoming data and methodological changes in the index. The index now includes data on continuing claims of unemployment insurance, railroad traffic, and federal taxes withheld.
- Today’s decline is driven by sharp declines in staffing, steel production, and consumer confidence, with retail sales also starting to dissipate. While we incorporate forecasts of initial and continuing UI claims, we anticipate a further downward revision when the data is released on Thursday.
- As alternative scales, the current WEI implies a 13.9 percent decrease in IP for March (YoY).