What Your Mobile Phone Tells the Fed about the Economy

Posted on August 31st, 2020

In an effort to determine what economic impact the pandemic has had and is having on the U.S. economy, the Federal Reserve gathered geolocation data from mobile devices and compiled an index measuring activity of the public and consumers nationwide. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas created the Dallas Fed Mobility & Engagement Index whose measures represent activity throughout the economy. The index has so far illustrated that there has been a deviation from normal mobility behavior since the onslaught of COVID-19 induced restrictions.

The index clearly identified a drop in mobility activity when the initial stay at home restrictions were imposed in March and it also acknowledged an increase in activity when some restrictions were relaxed. The data is gathered daily and released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas weekly.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; Mobility & Engagement Index