Economists use payments data to build high-speed indicator

US Federal Reserve

Alternative data sources can provide a useful, early estimate of consumer spending, economists from the Federal Reserve and Stanford University say in a new paper.

From transactions data to economic statistics sets out an approach to estimating retail spending in “detailed geographies”, based on anonymised transaction data.

The authors construct estimates of daily retail spending, from 2010 to the present day, for “a number of industry categories” at the national, state and metropolitan level.

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