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2020 OECD Economic Outlook, Volume 2020 Issue 2

image of OECD Economic Outlook, Volume 2020 Issue 2

The COVID-19 pandemic will cast a long shadow over the world’s economies and the economic outlook is very uncertain. This issue of the OECD Economic Outlook analyses the impacts of COVID-19 on the economy and puts forward projections for output, employment, prices, fiscal and current account balances.

This issue includes a general assessment of the macroeconomic situation, a series of notes on the current policy challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic and a chapter summarising developments and providing projections for each individual country. Coverage is provided for all OECD members as well as for selected partner economies.

English Also available in: French, German

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Issue Note 1. The OECD Weekly Tracker of activity based on Google Trends

A pre-requisite for good macroeconomic policymaking is timely information on the current state of the economy, particularly when economic activity is changing rapidly. Given that GDP is usually only available on a quarterly basis (with first estimates typically published four weeks or later after the end of the quarter), policymakers and forecasters have long made use of more timely higher frequency data, such as survey‑based indicators like Purchasing Managers’ Indices (PMIs). However, both the current crisis and the earlier ones have shown that the underlying relationship with survey‑based indicators can become unreliable when changes in economic activity are abrupt and massive (Vermeulen, 2012).This problem has prompted a search for alternative high‑frequency indicators of economic activity. This issue note discusses one such indicator based on Google Trends, which are used to construct a Weekly Tracker that provides real-time estimates of GDP growth in 46 economies covering G20, OECD and OECD partner countries.

English Also available in: French

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