Statistics and Data Directorate

OECD Main Economic Indicators (MEI): Feature Articles


The MEI regularly publishes feature articles on a range of interesting topics.  These articles present information on recent improvements to the methodologies used and statistical content of the MEI database.  Recently published articles are:


July 2010: Changes to the OECD consumer price indices (CPI) series (pdf)
The Consumer Price Indices (CPI) series published by the OECD have been the subject of a recent methodological review to ensure and improve their quality and international comparability across the 31 OECD member countries.


November 2009: Completion of changes to the Main Economic Indicators paper publication (pdf)

As signalled in the February 2009 Main Economic Indicators (MEI) paper publication, November 2009 will see the completion of changes to the MEI paper publication. The changes reflect an increased emphasis on cross-country comparability with a greater use of composite indicators, more derived series (for example activities as a share of GDP), and more series being presented as growth rates.


June 2009: Introduction of output producer price indices in MEI publication (pdf)
The May 2009 edition of the Main Economic Indicators (MEI) publication and associated electronic products introduced the newly established OECD hierarchy for Producer Price Indices (PPIs).


February 2009: Upcoming changes to the Main Economic Indicators paper publication (pdf)
This announcement provides initial information on upcoming changes to the structure and content of the monthly Main Economic Indicators (MEI) paper publication. These changes will appear from the May 2009 publication and be fully implemented before the end of the year.


November 2008Upcoming changes to the OECD Composite Leading Indicators (CLI) (pdf)
Following a methodological and system review, the OECD will change the way it calculates its composite leading indicators (CLI) beginning in December 2008. To date the approach used in de-trending estimates has been the Phase-Average-Trend (PAT) method. From December 2008 this will be replaced with the double Hodrick-Prescott (HP)-filter;  (which also includes an integrated smoothing method). Some other methodological process changes have also been introduced but the de-trending change is the most significant; one that significantly improves the revision characteristics (for more details please see the methodology document “OECD System of Composite Leading Indicators”).

February 2008: Newly released quaterly national accounts datasets for non-member economies (pdf)
Now available in ‘OECD.Stat Extracts’ at are four new datasets containing quarterly national accounts data for Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, the Russian Federation, and South Africa – commonly referred to as the BRIICS. The Short-Term Economic Statistics division of the OECD Statistics Directorate is currently the only OECD division collecting and publishing national accounts data for these non-member economies.


December 2007: Proposed changes to the compilation of zone aggregates for monetary aggregates and other variables in the OECD Main Economical Indicators publication (pdf)


November 2007New Tables on International Trade in Services (pdf)
Beginning in November 2007 the OECD Main Economic Indicators publication provides quarterly tables showing the evolution of international trade in services for the OECD countries and some important non-member countries that have quarterly data.


March 2007: Introduction of quarterly Unit Labour Cost indicators (pdf)
This article presents the methodology used to compile quarterly time series of Unit Labour Cost indicators published in the MEI from March 2007.


December 2006: Introducing OECD Standardized Business and Consumer Confidence Indicators and Zone Aggregates (pdf)
Based on the high external interest in the OECD Composite Leading Indicators (CLIs) OECD has decided to widen the range of its cyclical indicators. Accordingly, a standardized set of business tendency and consumer opinion (BTS/COS) time series has been calculated and included for the first time as a subject table in Part One of the Main Economic Indicators (MEI) publication. The standardization of these confidence indicators, which makes data comparable across countries, has also facilitated the calculation of geographical zone aggregate confidence indicators which was not previously possible.


November 2006Non-member Economies Data Additions to Part I Tables of the Publication (pdf)
With the continuing effort of augmenting the collection and evaluation of short-term economic statistics for the large emerging economies of Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russian Federation and South Africa (collectively referred to as BRICS) a number of key indicators have been added to the tables in Part I of the Main Economic Indicator (MEI) publication.


September 2006: Introducing the MEI Original Release Data and Revisions Database (pdf)
Describes a new database released by the OECD based on MEI data which allows users to perform comprehensive revisions analysis for key economic variables and to assess the expected performance of econometric models in simulated real-time.


June 2006Changes to the MEI “Labour” series (pdf)
Describes how the OECD has reorganised and augmented labour market indicators in the MEI database. This reorganisation principally concerns the addition of key series previously published in OECD’s Quarterly labour force statistics (QLFS) publication which was suppressed in 2005.


May 2006New quarterly Main Economic Indicator zone totals for flows of foreign direct investment, trade in goods, and trade in services (pdf)
Balance of payments (BOP) statistics form a subject dataset hosted in the OECD Main Economic Indicators database. The OECD is introducing progressively quarterly zone totals for selected variables in the BOP dataset. These are now available, for OECD total and the Group of Seven (G7) countries, for flows of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), trade in goods, and trade in services. For trade the quarterly zone totals are seasonally adjusted. All BOP data are in current prices. This article describes the background to this development and examines some trends in FDI flow data.


April 2006Composite Leading Indicators for Major OECD Non-Member Economies and Recently New OECD Member Countries (pdf)
The OECD has developed CLIs for the major six OECD non-member economies (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russian Federation and South Africa) monitored by the organisation and six recently new OECD member countries (Korea, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovak Republic). This article summarises this work and a technical paper which outlines the procedures used for compiling the CLIs for the 12 new countries can be found downloaded here.


November 2005International Trade Statistics for the Euro Area Countries (pdf)
From November 2005 Eurostat has become the sole source for International Trade data published in the MEI for Euro area countries. This article explains the reasons for and implications of this change.


July 2005Changes to the MEI “Real Indicators” Series (pdf)
Describes how the OECD has enhanced the quality of Real indicators series in the MEI database, which were formerly stored under the headings Production, Manufacturing, Construction, and Domestic demand.


April 2005Planned Changes to the MEI Hourly Earnings Subject Table (pdf)
Describes plans to change the target series for the MEI Hourly earnings subject table to seasonally adjusted average hourly total earnings in Manufacturing, and to introduce longer time series for OECD area totals compiled as annually chain linked Laspeyres indexes.


March 2005Focus on financial statistics (pdf)
Describes the range of financial statistics published in the MEI and outlines recent work done to improve the comparability of these indicators across countries.


September 2004Producing High Quality Long Time Series (pdf)
Describes recent improvements to methodologies for producing long time series of country data and OECD area totals.