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Measuring Real Activity Using a Weekly Economic Index

Daniel Lewis (), Karel Mertens (), James Stock and Mihir Trivedi

No 920, Staff Reports from Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Abstract: This paper describes a weekly economic index (WEI) developed to track the rapid economic developments associated with the onset of and policy response to the novel coronavirus in the United States. The WEI is a weekly composite index of real economic activity, with eight of ten series available the Thursday after the end of the reference week. In addition to being a weekly real activity index, the WEI has strong predictive power for output measures and provided an accurate nowcast of current-quarter GDP growth in the first half of 2020. We document how the WEI responded to key events and data releases during the first six months of the pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19; measurement of economic activity; weekly economic index; high frequency (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C51 E01 E66 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 25
Date: 2020-04-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-mac and nep-ore
Note: Revised September 2020. Previous title: “U.S. Economic Activity during the Early Weeks of the SARS-Cov-2 Outbreak”
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Journal Article: Measuring real activity using a weekly economic index (2022) Downloads
Working Paper: Measuring Real Activity Using a Weekly Economic Index (2021) Downloads
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