Thursday, April 2, 2020

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

April 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 -6.19 percent, scaled to 4-quarter GDP growth, for the week ending March 28, and -3.22 for the week ending March 21; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.58 for the week ending February 29.
  • Today’s sizeable decline is driven by a sharp increase in unemployment insurance initial claims, which came in at 6,648,000 (seasonally adjusted), far surpassing last week’s record-setting release and doubling consensus forecasts from earlier in the week. This release was reinforced by a major decline in fuel sales, which now appear to be strongly responding to stay-at-home orders and other restrictions, as well as modest decreases in electricity output and rail traffic.  The WEI for March 21st was also revised downwards following a sharp increase in continuing claims for that week.
  • As an alternative scale, the current WEI implies a 23.47 percent decrease in IP for March (YoY).
  •  Data dashboard and .release (.pdf)
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)


  1. Thanks for sharing. I just wonder how to scale WEI to four-quarter GDP growth?

  2. I wondered the same. I did it with a VLOOKUP for each quarter-end cell. A bit laborious but it worked. Would be great if NY Fed published the WEI with GDP growth.

  3. Extraordinary work. I am wondering if anyone has taken the historical data and plotted it against the S&P500?