Hurricane Harvey has already affected some of the August data releases. Irma has already started to affect some weekly releases, and will undoubtedly affect the September monthly releases.
I have already begun to adjust for the hurricanes in the case of initial jobless claims. But what of the monthly data?
While there is nothing so timely and precise as backing out affected states from the initial jobless claims report, there are workarounds that can at least tell us if there has been any significant change in trend for both the industrial production and housing reports.
I will put up separate posts, but to cut to the chase, we can use the Regional Fed reports (minus Dallas, and adding the Chicago PMI) to give us a reasonable estimate of industrial production in the non-hurricane affected areas. Similarly, we can make use the regional breakdowns in the housing report by subtracting the South and determining the trend in the remaining 60% of the country outside of that census region. I have already looked at this morning’s housing report, and it turns out the effect is not what you would think! I’ll have that post up by tomorrow.
Unfortunately there is no regional or state-by-state breakdown of retail sales or regional consumption expenditures on any sort of timely basis, so we’re kind of stuck there.