Weekly Economic Activity: Measurement and Informational Content

We construct a composite index to measure the real activity of the Swiss economy on a weekly frequency. The index is based on a novel high-frequency data set capturing economic activity across distinct dimensions over a long-time horizon. We propose a six-step procedure for extracting precise business cycle signals from the raw data. By means of a real-time evaluation, we highlight the importance of our proposed adjustment procedure: (i) our weekly index significantly outperforms a comparable index without adjusted input variables; and (ii) the weekly index outperforms established monthly indicators in nowcasting GDP growth. These insights should help improve other recently developed high-frequency indicators.