Thursday, April 15, 2010

Surprising economic indicators

In the article “New Ways to Read the Economy” in the Wall Street Journal  last week, journalist Cari Tuna quotes several economists who are looking at new and surprising data sources to determine levels of economic activity.  For example, Ted Egan, the chief economist in the San Francisco controller’s office, looks at Saturday passenger counts from the subway station near the Union Square shopping district to get an idea of how the local economy is doing.  And Edward Leamer, an eonomist with the University of California, looks at diesel fuel sales on California’s I-5 interstate highway (a major lumber trucking route) as an indicator of construction employment.

It's heartening to hear about people using data like this to solve problems at a time when we hear a lot about the "tsunami of data" going unharvested. (See blog entry on this).

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