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)

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