Measuring Real Activity Using a Weekly Economic Index
25 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2020 Last revised: 14 Sep 2020
Date Written: April 1, 2020
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: weekly economic index, high frequency, measurement of economic activity, forecasting
JEL Classification: C51, E01, E66
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation