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Release Dates Announced for Economic Activity and Leading Indexes

For release: February 16, 2001
Contact: Marilyn Wimp (215) 574-4197

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia has set the 2001 schedule for its economic activity (coincident) and leading indexes for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, which make up the Third District.

Data will be released on this web site at approximately 2 p.m. on the following dates: March 2, March 28, April 23, May 21, June 20, July 23, August 20, Sept. 24, Oct. 24, Nov. 21, and Dec. 28. These dates are subject to the availability of the data series used in the indexes, and schedule changes will be posted on this web site.

Recently, the Philadelphia Fed broadened its scope of the indicators used in compiling the indexes and, for the first time, has developed a leading index for Delaware. The new economic activity indexes now include five indicators: non-farm employment, the unemployment rate, average hours worked in manufacturing, industrial electricity sales, and real personal income minus transfer payments. Previously, these coincident indexes used only the first three variables.

The new leading indexes use the economic activity index for each state, as well as various state, regional, and national variables: initial unemployment claims, housing permits, vendor delivery time from the Bank's Business Outlook Survey, and the yield on 10-year Treasury bonds minus the Fed funds rate. Like the original indexes, the new ones are constructed using a variation of a model designed by economists James Stock and Mark Watson.

These revisions to the indexes have meant improvements such as the scope of the data used in the economic activity indexes is much broader; long-term trends in the state indexes are now comparable; and cyclical fluctuations are easier to recognize in each state's current economic activity index. The new leading indexes are more reliable than the previous ones.

For a complete description of the new indexes, see Theodore M. Crone's, "A New Look at Economic Indexes for the States in the Third District," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, November/December 2000 at www.philadelphiafed.org/econ/br.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia serves depository institutions in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware by supplying cash to these banks and thrifts, supervising them, collecting and processing about 4.6 million checks daily, wiring money and securities nationwide, as well as participating in the broader objective of setting monetary policy.

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