Thursday, May 28, 2020

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

May 28, 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 -9.87 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ended May 23 and -10.03 percent for May 16; 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 23rd was driven by a strong rebound of retail sales, the continued decline of initial UI claims, and modest rises in steel production, rail traffic, and tax withholdings. Fuel sales and electricity production releases have been delayed due to Memorial Day. The WEI for the week of May 16th was revised upwards due to the continuing UI claims release being more positive than other data, possibly due to claims from federal pandemic programs not being included, and a small increase in the staffing index.
  • As alternative scales, the current WEI implies a 34.63 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 1317k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll. 
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf) 
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)

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