Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

April 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 -10.95 percent, scaled to 4-quarter GDP growth, for the week ending April 18 and -10.56 percent for April 11; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.58 for the week ending February 29.
  • Today’s small upward revision of the WEI for the week of 04/11 is a result of today’s staffing index release, while lower than the prior week, being less negative than previous data releases. The fall in the WEI for 04/18 relative to this revised number is driven by tumbling retail sales, offsetting an increase in steel production and a slight improvement in consumer confidence. This estimate may be revised downwards on Thursday, when more data is available, including fuel sales.
  • As alternative scales, the current WEI implies a 36.95 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 1490k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll. 
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf)
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)

1 comment:

  1. This is not a comment, it is a question about how to interpret the index. As I read it, the index suggests 20Q1 GDP was slightly higher than 19Q1, or about $20000 billion. If the index remains at the current reading (-11.7) throughout 20Q2, GDP will be $16796 billion. That makes the annualized rate of decline between 20Q1 and 20Q2 about 65%. Surely I have misinterpreted this data. Please correct.