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I'm interested in using FRED data for investment purposes, but I'm wondering about the timeliness of the data.

One metric that looks to be pretty informative for the stock market is new unemployment claims, specifically multi-week trends in this data. It looks like the latest number is for the prior week, but this is the number that was announced for the current week. That is, it's reported on a one week delay and the last number in the data is the same as the latest data that the market is aware of. So that's great in terms of timeliness. I'll have to see how quickly it shows up on the FRED site in practice, but I'm sure there are plenty of places to get the most recent data in near-real time.

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/ICSA

Here's another indicator that would take the guess work out:

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/USRECDP

It appears that the recession periods start on the first day of the first month of the recessionary period and end on the last day of the last month of the period, leading me to believe that the data might be adjusted after the fact. I would just watch this data like I'll have to do with the unemployment data, but I might be waiting for months or weeks before another recession hits.

So I'm wondering:

  1. For anyone who is familiar with this data, do you know if it updates in real time or is it revised when recessions are determined at a later date?
  2. Are there any other indicators available through the Fed or otherwise that work well for providing real-time feedback?
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  • $\begingroup$ A recession is determined by output data (GDP) which is taking a long time to be released. That indicator will not be helpful at all. There is a page for personal finance where these type of questions suit better. $\endgroup$
    – Alex
    Feb 27, 2022 at 11:18
  • $\begingroup$ On a side remark, for investing purposes, it may be worth to read a few articles about the performance of mutual funds (professional investors) vs index funds. $\endgroup$
    – Alex
    Feb 27, 2022 at 11:20

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