Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

April 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 -9.44 percent, scaled to 4-quarter GDP growth, for the week ending April 11 and -8.57 for April 04; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.58 for the week ending February 29.
  •  Today’s decline in the WEI is driven by a continued sharp fall in steel production, to its lowest level since 2009, and retail sales growth turning negative, continuing its fall from early-pandemic heights. Consumer confidence, which had appeared to stabilize, also decreased. The staffing index for the week of 04/04 fell below 2008 levels, reinforcing the signal from UI claims. We anticipate the WEI may fall further on Thursday when data on UI claims becomes available.
  • As alternative scales, the current WEI implies a 33.32 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 1300k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll.
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf)
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)

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