Discussion Paper

Monitoring Real Activity in Real Time: The Weekly Economic Index


Abstract: Economists are well-practiced at assessing real activity based on familiar aggregate time series, like the unemployment rate, industrial production, or GDP growth. However, these series represent monthly or quarterly averages of economic conditions, and are only available at a considerable lag, after the month or quarter ends. When the economy hits sudden headwinds, like the COVID-19 pandemic, conditions can evolve rapidly. How can we monitor the high-frequency evolution of the economy in “real time”?

Keywords: COVID-19; nowcasting; real activity; high frequency;

JEL Classification: C53; E32; I12; E2;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Part of Series: Liberty Street Economics

Publication Date: 2020-03-30

Number: 20200330b