Nowcasting Economic Activity in Times of COVID-19: An Approximation from the Google Community Mobility Report

24 Pages Posted: 19 May 2020

Date Written: May 14, 2020

Abstract

This paper proposes a leading indicator, the "Google Mobility Index," for nowcasting monthly industrial production growth rates in selected economies in Latin America and the Caribbean. The index is constructed using the Google COVID-19 Community Mobility Report database via a Kalman filter. The Google database is publicly available starting from February 15, 2020. The paper uses a backcasting methodology to increase the historical number of observations and then augments a lag of one week in the mobility data with other high-frequency data (air quality) over January 1, 2019 to April 30, 2020. Finally, mixed data sampling regression is implemented for nowcasting industrial production growth rates. The Google Mobility Index is a good predictor of industrial production. The results suggest a significant decline in output of between 5 and 7 percent for March and April, respectively, while indicating a trough in output in mid-April.

Keywords: International Trade and Trade Rules, Health Care Services Industry, Pharmaceuticals Industry, ICT Policy and Strategies, ICT Legal and Regulatory Framework, Economic Conditions and Volatility

Suggested Citation

Sampi Bravo, James Robert Ezequiel and Jooste, Charl, Nowcasting Economic Activity in Times of COVID-19: An Approximation from the Google Community Mobility Report (May 14, 2020). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 9247, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3601423

James Robert Ezequiel Sampi Bravo (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Charl Jooste

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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