The Big W ?

The Data App (TDA) estimate activity posted its second consecutive monthly decline in May. Following on from a 2.1% fall in April, TDA’s monthly activity indicator (MAI) declined, a more modest, 0.3% in May. So, for the first time, the annual growth in the MAI moved into negative territory.

  • The MAI fell 0.3% in May after falling at a record rate of 2.1% in April. Activity indicators in May were mixed as employment fell moderately, retail trade rebounded, housing activity went backwards, companies remained pessimistic, albeit less so, while exports softened.
  • Compared to a year earlier, the MAI moved into negative territory for the first time. This is sharp reversal from March when, boosted by a surge in panic buying, the MAI grew at an annual rate of 2.8%.

About the MAI

 With no official monthly measure of Australian activity available it is difficult to get a timely measure of how the economy is performing. In an attempt to fill this gap, The Data App (TDA) developed a Monthly Activity Indicator (MAI). The MAI is estimated using an econometric model based on a number of different, high frequency, monthly economic activity indicators as key factor input variables.


Given the current economic climate, the MAI should assist in quantifying the magnitude of the current economic downturn, as well as identifying a point of inflection.

Key attributes of the MAI include:

  • Tracks activity in the private sector economy.
  • An indicator for tracking business cycles – downturns and upswings in the economy.
  • A timely measure of economic activity.

The Data App (TDA) is part of the PAR.Group, an independent research collective. More information about the group can be found on the website