Tracking the State Economies during the Pandemic

A couple years ago, Ryan LeCloux and I were cataloging the ways in which to track the individual state economies, at higher than annual frequency (paper here). I think that topic will be of interest again. State employment figures for April will come out on the 22nd, Philadelphia Fed coincident indices on the 27th.

For now, consider the evolution of the coincident indices going from February to March.

Source: Philadelphia Fed.

Source: Philadelphia Fed.

In normal times, the sensitivity of GDP growth to coincident index growth is statistically significant for most states (one notable exception is New York).

One of the components of the Coincident Indices is nonfarm payroll employment; here’s a map of month-on-month (not annualized) percent growth for March.


Source: BLS.

However, as noted in Chinn and LeCloux (2018), nonfarm payroll employment growth is on average less significantly related to GDP growth.

Update, 5/19: Reader Steve Kopits is apparently unable to download an excel worksheet and map month-on-month growth rates, so I’ll (once again) do the work for him (-0.28 is read as -28% annualized growth rate).

And you want to be my latex salesman?

53 thoughts on “Tracking the State Economies during the Pandemic

  1. pgl

    Kentucky is doing worse than New York? Hey Mitch McConnell – deal with that you ba$tard. Maybe my state is not collapsing that badly because we are getting work doing things to help our first responders.

  2. pgl

    Bruce Hall’s desire to milk those with this virus by selling them his junk snake oil may really bit the dust of this idea works out:

    NIH clinical trial testing antiviral remdesivir plus anti-inflammatory drug baricitinib for COVID-19 begins

    A randomized, controlled clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of a treatment regimen of the investigational antiviral remdesivir plus the anti-inflammatory drug baricitinib for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has begun. The trial is now enrolling hospitalized adults with COVID-19 in the United States. The trial is expected to open at approximately 100 U.S. and international sites. Investigators currently anticipate enrolling more than 1,000 participants. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, is sponsoring the trial.

  3. pgl

    Check out this interview between Chuck TODD (almost as bad as Tim RUSSERT) and Peter Navarro:

    Trump sycophant Peter Navarro still hates anything manufactured in China – no surprise. He also brags about his role using the Defense Production Act to gear up production of ventilators and testing equipment over the past 6 weeks. Wait – you did not start until April 1 when you knew back in January that we would need this stuff? Good Lord. And oh yea – Navarro bashes the CDC. Yea – the CDC was run by another Trump sycophant. What a pathetic White House.

    1. The Rage

      Give me a break. Navarro is a con man with big contracts from China to prove it. The supply chain is so global, his obsessed con with China really gets exposed.

  4. Moses Herzog

    Menzie Chinn has said, in essence, he admires Nancy Pelosi’s brains. Yeah, well I guess I can see that now, I’ve “found the light”. Score one for “feminism” and people who are against “ageism”. Nancy’s a wonderful woman, and don’t anyone hint otherwise, ok??

    Power to the people, Amen, or whatever the F____ else is politically correct this week. Ask “Karen” what’s PC this week, ‘cuz I clearly don’t know anymore.

  5. Steven Kopits

    These March indicators are meaningless. There is no state with positive indicators.

    1. macroduck

      That certainly seems like a complete non-sequitor. Actually, a nonsense statement followed by a non-sequitor. Please, Steve, tell us why March data don’t matter and why negative numbers are meaningless. They were around in China at least from the Han Dynasty and began showing up in Europe about a thousand years later. Are you simply resisting mathematical progress?

      1. pgl

        Stevie trashes our host for no reason and then he uses this blog to promote his worthless crap on Stevie’s little blog that no one reads.

      2. Steven Kopits

        If you take a look at New Jersey, for example, the map shows indicators in March as unchanged. Since I live in New Jersey, I can assure you that life came to a halt here after mid month. New Jersey was not ‘unchanged’ in March. Activity was plummeting.

        Similarly, North Dakota shows in bright green. All was good in March! Well, they were in the process of shutting in a boatload of oil production, and that’s a big part of the economy. So if you’re telling me North Dakota was all light and happiness in March, let me assure you, it wasn’t.

        1. Menzie Chinn Post author

          Steve Kopits: You should read the legends to the maps. The three month change in the Coincident Index for NJ was positive in February, and unchanged in March. That means the March index *must* be lower than the February index. Hence, the month-on-month change in NJ was negative.

          In other words, read the d*** legends to the graphs before declaring something “meaningless”.

          1. pgl

            Princeton Steve reading something other than his own meaningless babble? You are asking for a miracle.

          2. Menzie Chinn Post author

            Steve Kopits: You miss the point. By comparing the change in the three month changes, you can infer the one month changes…so information *is* contained in the maps.

            See the addendum just added.

          3. Steven Kopits

            A three month average is by definition meaningless at this point. It may be worthwhile in other contexts, but today it is meaningless.

  6. pgl

    Just when you think Team Trump could not get any more pathetic. It seems they are now blaming all those deaths from the virus they ignored on the victims – they were not in perfect health so who gives a damn that they died?

    Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Sunday suggested that the underlying health conditions of Americans, in particular in minority communities, contributed significantly to the death toll from the coronavirus.

    1. Barkley Rosser

      Well, that is not quite as bad as the authority (forget exactly who) who blamed the deaths in the Sioux Falls Smithfield plant on “the cultures in the homes of the workers” who got covid-19 and died.

      1. macroduck

        Not sure, but I know a justice on the state supreme court said something quite like that.

  7. baffling

    will be curious to see how many of the anti-lockdown crowd, many of whom are also anti-vaccine, will accept a covid vaccine if it becomes available by years end. how many anti-vaxers will turn on the remedy, based upon simple ideology? my guess is a lot, because the “establishment” will be pushing for the nation to be vaccinated. it is a liberal conspiracy plot to control the nation. not even sure if trump will get a vaccine at this point.

    1. The Rage

      Meh, anti-vaxers tend to be liberals. Your post is null and void.

      I would ignore this index. It’s sloppily put together.

      1. Barkley Rosser

        No, Rage, they ihabit both ends of the political spectrum, and many reports have had them being loud and visible participants in several of these anti-lockdown demos at state capitol buildings.

      2. baffling

        you are incorrect rage. in fact, there is a strong link between anti-vaxers and trump supporters.
        the question becomes, are there two distinct groups of trump supporters, antivaxxers and anti-shutdown? or do these folks overlap. i am guessing there is more overlap than many folks think. both groups are susceptible to the conspiracy theory propaganda trump espouses.

    2. Willie

      I’m not convinced that there’s a big overlap between anti-vaxxer conspiracy theory enthusiasts and the anti-lockdown types. There may be, but I suspect you will find far less than complete overlap.

      While I agree that MAGA-land is at a huge risk, I also wonder a bit about the demographics of the risk factors. MAGA types may or may not be the ones with the high risk factors in all areas. In West Virginia, they probably are. Maybe not as much in Alabama, but I don’t know for sure. Alabama is one of six US states I have not set foot in.

    3. pgl

      Didn’t someone get past phase I trials? I hear the White House is taking a victory lap. Of course is really premature if not incredibly dumb is passing phase I simply means the vaccine did not kill the patient. Efficacy it does not show. But of course Trump thinks he is smarter than even the doctors so hey!

    1. pgl

      Another worthless blog post no one is going to read. Come on dude – stop the pathetic self promotion as no one cares what you babble about.

  8. pgl

    Bruce Hall landed a big time hydroxychloroquine account:

    President Donald Trump said Monday that he is taking the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in an attempt to prevent against a novel coronavirus infection — despite the Food and Drug Administration warning against using the drug outside of a hospital or clinical setting. “I happen to be taking it,” Trump told reporters Monday, later clarifying that he was combining zinc with the anti-malaria medication. Trump said he has been taking the medication for a couple of weeks. “I’m taking the two, the zinc and the hydroxy,” the President said. “And all I can tell you is, so far I seem to be okay.” Asked why he was taking the drug, Trump responded: “Here’s my evidence, I get a lot of positive calls about it.” Trump has for months promoted hydroxychloroquine as a potential wonder drug for COVID-19 patients, despite a lack of evidence that it’s actually effective against the disease. The drug has been used for years as an anti-malarial. It’s also prescribed to lupus and rheumatoid arthritis patients. But large scale studies have not supported its efficacy against COVID-19. Last month, the FDA warned against using the drug outside of clinical and hospital settings due to “reports of serious heart rhythm problems.” Trump on Monday also disparaged as “very unscientific” a study of veterans hospital patients that failed to find hydroxychloroquine effective against the virus. “I get a lot of tremendously positive news on the hydroxy,” Trump said, adding that he’s said in the past of the drug: “What do you have to lose?”

    What to make out of this comical story? Is Trump really this damn stupid? A lot of people are suggesting this is just another Trump lie designed to get his moronical supporters to buy this worthless garbage.

    1. 2slugbaits

      While I certainly hope Trump is taking hydroxychloroquine, somehow I kind of doubt it. It’s hard to imagine any responsible doctor actually allowing the President to take that kind of risk…especially given Trump’s overall poor cardiovascular health. My guess is that the WH doctors got together and decided to give Trump a placebo and then just tell him that it’s hydroxychloroquine.

      1. baffling

        not sure why he is even taking the drug. after all, the virus is not that dangerous, kind of like the flu. which begs the question, why is the west wing locked down with everybody getting a coronavirus test? why the ruckus over a virus that will disappear as the weather warms. meanwhile, record number of new cases emerging in texas after the lockdown lifted.

      2. macroduck

        “Don’t worry, Mr. President, we put the medical juju in your burders. Now, here comes the chew-chew train!!!”

      1. pgl

        Lord the idiot Bruce Hall finds some obscure NYC hospital that is providing more antecdotal evidence. BFD bud. Your own link noted this from our Governor:

        “Basically it was not seen as a positive. Not seen as a negative. And didn’t really have much of an effect on the recovery rate,” Cuomo said.

        Oh wait – you did it again. Read a headline and not the rest of the link. Your usual lazy stupidity.

      2. pgl

        There was something else in Brucie boy’s link that he missed. It was not necessarily the hydroxychloroquine but the zinc. Maybe hydroxychloroquine enhances the zinc. Now Trump is also taking zinc. Why not have Trump just take massive amounts of zinc? No health risks there – right?

        Pelosi is giving Trump some sound medical device!

        Pelosi says ‘morbidly obese’ Trump taking hydroxychloroquine ‘not a good idea’

      3. 2slugbaits

        Bruce Hall Once again, please read your own link:

        Dr. Rahimian says patients in the more critical stages of infection did not fare as well.

        And he cautioned that more research is needed – in particular a randomized controlled trial – to prove how and how well the drug combination works.

        Got that? Randomized. Controlled. Trial. More research.

        And even if further research looked promising the doctor was not saying that it was the hydroxychloroquine itself that was doing the heavy lifting. To the extent that the cocktail treatment might have had any positive effect on moderately ill patients it was likely due to the zinc, not the hydroxychloroquine. The doctor was simply theorizing that the hydroxychloroquine acted as a facilitating agent for getting zinc into cells. The next obvious research question would be to see if some other drug might get zinc to cells at less risk.

        Suggestion. In the early days of Fox News Roger Ailes hired a team of psychologists to suggest a way to make viewers more susceptible to the Fox News party line. The researchers recommended having several visually distracting images on the screen. So that’s why you got that rotating Fox icon, news scrolling across the bottom and stock market prices above it. And breaking news alerts. And the old terror alert colors flashing. The effect is to shut down the brain’s capacity for critical thinking and the viewer then passively absorbs “information.” Psychologists have repeated this test many times and have found that people score lower on IQ tests after watching Fox News. The effect lasts for about 90 minutes. My suggestion to you is that you turn off Fox News for at least 90 minutes before you “research” stuff for this blog. It might help you better understand what’s actually being said.

        1. pgl

          I think we have established by now that Bruce Hall never ever gets backs the headline of his link. If the headline seems to support the MAGA agenda, the specifics in the actual story do not matter to Bruce Hall.

      4. Alan Goldhammer

        @Bruce Hall – you can have fun posting isolated links. I’m spending 3-4 hours a day reading preprints and published trials. For every mildly positive HCQ plus or minus any of the following: azythromycin, zinc, your favorite antiviral, etc. I can point to an equal number or more trials that show NO effect or even increased mortality numbers. Now if you really want to get behind a treatment that may work and will level out your mood swings, try chlorpromazine – it’s in several trials right now and is just as likely to work or show no effect or give confounding data as every other COVID-19 drug.

        You can always go back to my collected newsletters and search for your favorite cure: As for me, I’m staying on my AREDS-2 therapy which includes zinc, copper, vitamins C & E along with two great plant compounds that are antioxidants!!! It’s kept me COVID-19 free for five months now. Heck, maybe President Trump is already taking these.

        1. MP


          Please list those studies you found that support the use of HCQ in combination…


      5. baffling

        zinc has been shown to be beneficial with other coronavirus causing the common cold. that is the therapeutic that should be investigated in this study.

        1. MP

          Really. Zinc? Perhaps there is some other compound that increases the anti-viral efficacy of zinc.

          Who’d of thought?

          1. baffling

            there are studies that show zinc has an impact on other coronaviruses. mp, i guess one could argue that cyanide might also increase the anti-viral efficacy of zinc. perhaps you could try that drug as well? there appears to be just as much evidence linking cyanide to increases in anti-viral efficacy of zinc as there does hydroxychloroquine.

    2. Willie

      Will he find a Playboy model who is COVID positive and make out with her in front of his wife now? That is proof of the pudding. Without that evidence, I do not believe him.

  9. pgl

    Even Neil Cavuto has turned against the promotion to promote Bruce Hall’s snake oil:

    Cavuto emphatically warned viewers against following Trump’s example several hours later. “I cannot stress this enough: This. Will. Kill. You,” the Fox News host said. “Whatever benefits the President says this has … this is a leap that should not be taken casually by those watching at home or assuming what the President says is okay.”

    Of course this pissed off the Idiot in Chief who has decided Fox News is now a socialist plot.

  10. pgl

    China may have a true “game changer”:

    “A Chinese laboratory has been developing a drug it believes has the power to bring the coronavirus pandemic to a halt…A drug being tested by scientists at China’s prestigious Peking University could not only shorten the recovery time for those infected, but even offer short-term immunity from the virus, researchers say.”

    OK they are testing in mice not people so let’s not jump ahead of the science the way morons like Bruce Hall did with hydroxychloroquine. But we should be encouraging this research.

    If it works lives around the world will be saved. OK – its success would bankrupt snake oil sales people like Bruce Hall if China lets it be used on Americans. Then again Trump is doing all he can to isolate us from the rest of the world especially China. Which alas means Americans would continue to die but Brucie can still peddle his snake oil.

  11. pgl

    Watching Trump lie to the press about a lot of things right now. Transition to Greatness! Hey the 3rd quarter of 2020 will see tremendous economic growth. “It is already happening”. Wait, wait – someone tell this lying idiot that it is only May.

    1. Barkley Rosser

      Yes, but indeed the economy is almost certainly growing, if not very rapicly, not a V as he and his advisers claim. Curiously enough at the global level it is possible that all this will not count as a recession, if one defines that as two successive quarters of negative GDP growth, keeping in mind most other nations ahead of US on virus curve. So I just saw a story in WaPo about global carbon emissions, which are a pretty good coincident indicator of economic activity. They bottomed out globally on April 7, just after the second quarter started. So the first quarter saw a plunge in emissions and GDP, but basically GDP and emissions have probably been gradually growing since a week after the second quarter started. It may well be that at the global level (and maybe even the US one as well) that second quarter will see positiveGDP growth, if nowhere near enough to offset the first quarter decline. But in this old two succcessive quarters definnition world, that would mean that this shocking global economic event does not in the end amount to being a recession, just a big hard shock.

      1. Willie

        Whether or not it has two consecutive quarters of contraction or not is one of those timing quirks. Assuming there is no relapse later this summer or in the fall, it would surprise me to see the economy rebound to anything close to the previous levels until sometime next year. Maybe even later.

        We have only begun to see the disruptions this will cause. Travel, hospitality, and entertainment will not come roaring back. I suspect that farmers will be hurt badly by shortages of workers. If they are willing to pay enough for workers to risk dying, the price of food will rise. Or it will not get picked and the price will go up anyway. Retail stores will not all come back, leaving holes in the economic and social fabric everywhere in the country.

        It will be bumpy. Somebody a whole lot smarter than me can calculate how long it will be bumpy.

        1. Barkley Rosser

          “Dr. Doom” Nouriel Roubini is now predicting a ten year depressions, although he says we shall see a brief period of growth in coming months due to stimulus, but then we shall have a massive debt crash and things will really fall apart and stay that way for a long time.

  12. baffling

    that bastion of left wing politics, the lancet, has now produced a study showing the hydrochloroquine is related to higher deaths in coronavirus patients
    but i guess sammy the schmuk and bruce hall are still arguing that this is a safe drug, an we should simply ignore the biased research produced in the lancet in favor of opeds provide by faux news. still hunkering down bruce and sammy?

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