NEW YORK—Starting on Thursday, April 16, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York will begin regular publication of its Weekly Economic Index (WEI) to provide timely information on the state of the U.S. economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Traditional economic indicators, such as GDP growth, are typically only available after a considerable lag and can pose challenges when assessing rapidly evolving conditions triggered by a sudden event, such as the COVID-19 outbreak. To address this issue, the WEI leverages a range of metrics, including same-store retail sales, consumer sentiment, unemployment insurance claims, temporary and contract employment, tax withholdings, steel production, fuel sales, electricity output, and railroad traffic, to offer a “real-time” gauge of U.S. economic activity.
Index updates will be published every Tuesday and Thursday on the New York Fed website at 11:30 AM. Historical values of the index will also be made available for download.
More information on the index’s methodology and previous readings can be found in this recent New York Fed staff report, as well as this Liberty Street Economics blog post.