DP16317 Tracking Weekly State-Level Economic Conditions

Author(s): Christiane Baumeister, Danilo Leiva, Eric Sims
Publication Date: July 2021
Keyword(s): cross-state heterogeneity, economic weakness index, Government policies, local economic conditions, Markov-switching, mixed-frequency dynamic factor model, recession probabilities, state economies, weekly indicators
JEL(s): C32, C55, E32, E66
Programme Areas: Monetary Economics and Fluctuations
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=16317

In this paper, we develop a novel dataset of weekly economic conditions indices for the 50 U.S. states going back to 1987 based on mixed-frequency dynamic factor models with weekly, monthly, and quarterly variables that cover multiple dimensions of state economies. We show that there is considerable heterogeneity in the length, depth, and timing of business cycles across individual states. We assess the role of states in national recessions and propose an aggregate indicator that allows us to gauge the overall weakness of the U.S. economy. We also illustrate the usefulness of these state-level indices for quantifying the main forces contributing to the economic collapse caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and for evaluating the effectiveness of federal economic policies like the Paycheck Protection Program.