TDA Monthly Activity Indicator (MAI) for March 2020


With no official monthly measure of Australian activity available, The Data App (TDA), a member of the PAR Group, has developed a Monthly Activity Indicator (MAI) to provide a timely measure of Australian economic activity. 

Latest Findings:

TDA estimate activity increased at a record rate in March, suggesting that since the start of the year the economy has held up well and that any downturn lays in the months ahead.



  • The MAI jumped by 1.5% during the month and, in doing so, eclipsed the GST induced rise in monthly activity recorded in June 2000. The strength in March was primarily due to consumers embarking on an unprecedented spending binge.
  • Compared to a year earlier, the MAI is 2.8% higher. This is the strongest rate of growth since March 2018, and arrests a period of weaker growth rates which have extends back some 18 months.


  • It is highly likely that some demand for the month would have been met through a run-down in inventories; an influence not captured by the MAI.

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) has developed a Monthly Activity Indicator (MAI). The MAI is estimated using an econometric model based on a selection of monthly economic activity indicators as key factor input variables.

Given the current economic climate, the MAI will assist in quantifying the magnitude of the current economic downturn.

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 timelier measure of economic activity, ahead of official quarterly national account statistics.

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


For more information please contact:

Rob Ellis
Director, The Data App
0417 195 352