Thursday, January 14, 2021


Weekly Economic Index (WEI)

January 14 2021


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 -1.70 percent, scaled to four-quarter GDP growth, for the week ended January 9 and -1.90 percent for January 2; for reference, the WEI stood at 1.55 percent for the week ended February 29.
  • The increase in the WEI for the week of January 9 is due to rises in tax withholding, fuel sales, and rail traffic, which more than offset an increase in initial unemployment insurance claims and a decrease in electricity output (relative to the same time last year). The WEI for the week of January 2 was revised downward due to an increase in continuing unemployment insurance claims.
  • As alternative scales, the current WEI implies a 9.81 percent decrease in IP (YoY) and a 317k employee decrease in nonfarm payroll.
  • Data dashboard and .release (.pdf)
  • Historical data including recent release (.xlsx)

1 comment:

  1. Dear Mr Stock,
    I would be happy if you could elaborate a bit of how you deal with the 53th week of 2020, how do you calculate the weekly year-on-year difference in this particular week?
    We have a weekly activity index in a similar fashion of yours, and thinking about 2 possible solutions:
    1, simply calculate the weekly difference of week 53 of 2020 and week 1 of 2020, as luckily both contains 31 Dec and 1 Jan, and so we maintain the 52 week differencing and also avoid the spikes arising from comparing week 1 of 2021 with week 1 of 2020, which is obviously huge due to calendar mismatch.
    2, A more general solution, if there is a week 53, then values of week 53 is always the average of week 52, 53 and week 1 of next year.
    Thanks for your kind answer in advance.
    Best regards, Balázs Speder (Central Bank of Hungary)