Thursday, May 7, 2020

Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

May 7, 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 -11.91 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ending May 02 and -10.90 percent for April 25; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.58 for the week ending February 29.
  • Today’s slight decline in the WEI for the week of 05/02 was driven by this morning’s initial UI claims release, which remained elevated (2.85 million, not seasonally adjusted), a decrease in electricity usage, and a fall in fuel sales relative to the same time last year. These factors more than offset modest weekly increases in rail traffic and payroll tax withholdings. Today’s continuing claims release (22.04 million not seasonally adjusted) for the week of 04/25 left that week’s WEI unchanged.
  • As alternative scales, the current WEI implies a 39.8 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 1,610k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll.
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf)
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)