Introducing the OECD Short-Term Indicators Dashboard
Nowadays, policymaking and economic analyses rely heavily on statistics and international comparisons. The demand for high-frequency, reliable but also easily accessible data is increasing. To respond to this demand, the OECD has launched a new dashboard, covering G20 countries and selected regional aggregates. It allows users to follow key macro-economic developments using interactive charts and tables. The dashboard will be updated twice a month (link to calendar release), allowing users to track economic trends in a timely manner.
What will you find in the dashboard?
The new dashboard offers a one-stop-shop for up-to-date information on several metrics. It is designed to address primarily the needs of users interested in the most recent economic developments, who would like to make international comparisons or comparisons over time (e.g. comparing developments during the COVID-19 crisis with developments during the financial crisis).
The dashboard is broken down into five categories (tabs):
- International Environment provides information on the global business environment, including the latest developments in commodity prices and international trade, together with measures of global uncertainty;
- Real Economy tracks latest developments in economic growth and related short-term indicators such as manufacturing production and retail sales;
- Confidence Indicators gives a forward-looking dimension to the dashboard and reports the evolution of a range of leading indicators of economic activity;
- Prices and labour markets focuses on inflation and the unemployment rate, providing insights on potential tensions; and
- Monetary, Fiscal and Financial gathers information on monetary and fiscal stances, together with movements in financial markets.
Indicators were carefully selected for their relevance in monitoring the latest economic developments and medium-term trends. Efforts have been made to guarantee cross-country comparability, timeliness and avalaibility over a long time span.
Overall, the dashboard showcases 24 short-term indicators. This includes monthly and quarterly data, covering up to 60 years or more for some indicators. Country-specific indicators are presented for G20 countries excluding Argentina, Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia, and plus Spain. Regional aggregates for G7, G20, the euro area and the European Union are also available.
Most of the information is collected by the OECD on a regularly basis from official national sources or reliable international sources. The dashboard relies extensively on the OECD Main Economic Indicators, which have never before been presented in such a visual and flexible way.
What are the main functionalities?
The dashboard is a flexible visualisation tool. It allows users to move between domains; choose the country(ies) or zones of interest from the drop-down menu; select the most pertinent unit of measure for cross-country comparability; and adjust the time period using the time slider, narrowing down the most recent period, other periods of interest, or looking back at historical data.
Figure 1: The dashboard
The dashboard also features options to extract the data as a CSV, download charts as a PNG (image) (feature available for each graph on the top-right corner of each indicator’s title), or share it via Twitter/Facebook or LinkedIn.
A summary table is available at the bottom of each tab showing for each indicator, the latest value and corresponding period, the growth rate on the previous period, as well as an indication of the direction of change (indicated with arrows). This table can also be downloaded in Excel.
Figure 2: Summary tables for quick analysis and download
The new dashboard in action
Below are some simple examples of potential analyses, providing a first glimpse of the potential and functionality of the dashboard.
As COVID-19 took hold in March 2020, the VIX index of market volatility reached its highest level since 2008 financial crisis, a sign of heightened uncertainties (Figure 3). Meanwhile, the US unemployment rate peaked at 15%, while the European financial market suffered a loss of 30% over one month (from February to March 2020).
Figure 3: Insights using high-frequency data from the start of the pandemic
Next we could compare the GDP and the stock prices for Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom, across the past two crises (Figure 4). In September 2008, Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy. The stock markets reacted immediately with significant drops in October 2008 share prices for Canada (down 22%), Germany (down 21%) and the United Kingdom (down 18%). In March 2020, the pandemic also caused a collapse in the stock markets with similar or greater decreases in share prices for Canada (down 22%), Germany (down 25%) and the United Kingdom (down 21%). Although the extent of the initial drop is comparable between the two episodes, the shape of the recovery was very different.
Moving to GDP, we can identify differences in the impacts of the two crises, with a notable U-shape following the 2008 financial crisis, and a shorter, steeper and deeper V-shape, at the onset of COVID-19. Following the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, countries entered into a recession and the economic rebound was delayed until the end of 2010, or even later for many European countries, partially owing to the Greek Sovereign debt crisis. The pattern was different in the first phase of the COVID crisis, with the implementation of lockdown measures and other measures to limit the spread of the virus, GDP levels for the same countries declined more drastically by 14%, 11% and 23% in March 2020, but started their rebound almost immediately in Q3 2020, with significant increases of 13%, 11% and 19%. The synchronisation between countries at the beginning of the crisis is visible in both charts, while the return to pre-crisis levels remains desynchronised, as it depends on the relative state of country’s economy and the immediate policy response to the crisis.
Figure 4: Comparing two crises
For further information, or to provide feedback on the new dashboard, please contact the OECD Statistics and Data Directorate at email@example.com.