Staff Reports
High Frequency Data and a Weekly Economic Index during the Pandemic
Number 954
December 2020

JEL classification: E01, E66, C51

Authors: Daniel J. Lewis, Karel Mertens, James H. Stock, and Mihir Trivedi

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, with its ten component series, tracks the overall economy. Comparing the contributions of the WEI’s components in the 2008 and 2020 recessions reveals differences in how the two events played out at a high frequency. During the 2020 collapse and recovery, it provides a benchmark to interpret similarities and differences of novel indicators with shorter samples and/or nonstationary coverage, such as mobility indexes or credit card spending.

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AUTHOR DISCLOSURE STATEMENT(S)
Daniel J. Lewis
The author declares that he has no relevant or material financial interests that relate to the research described in this paper. Prior to circulation, this paper was reviewed in accordance with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York review policy, available at https://www.newyorkfed.org/research/staff_reports/index.html.

Karel Mertens
The author declares that he has no relevant or material financial interests that relate to the research described in this paper. Prior to circulation, this paper was reviewed in accordance with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York review policy, available at https://www.newyorkfed.org/research/staff_reports/index.html.

James H. Stock
The author declares that he has no relevant or material financial interests that relate to the research described in this paper. Prior to circulation, this paper was reviewed in accordance with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York review policy, available at https://www.newyorkfed.org/research/staff_reports/index.html.

Mihir Trivedi
The author declares that he has no relevant or material financial interests that relate to the research described in this paper. Prior to circulation, this paper was reviewed in accordance with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York review policy, available at https://www.newyorkfed.org/research/staff_reports/index.html.
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