Guide to OECD Main Economic Indicators


Updated monthly, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)'s Main Economic Indicators (MEI) presents annual, quarterly and monthly data for a wide range of short-term economic indicators for OECD Member countries and for a number of Non-Member countries from 1955 onwards.

The OECD organises the MEI database using a hierarchical four-level subject system of increasing detail, for example:

  • Production/Commodity Output/Crude Steel/Total

Some series are defined just by three levels or fewer, for example:

  • Interest rates/90-day rates/Interbank rate

Main topics

The topics listed below correspond to the first OECD subject level:

  • Leading Indicators (indicators that run 6-12 months ahead of GNP cycle)
  • National Accounts
  • National Income
  • Production
  • Business Tendency Surveys
  • Consumer Surveys
  • Manufacturing (deliveries, stocks and orders)
  • Construction
  • Domestic Demand
  • Employment
  • Unemployment
  • Other Labour Market Indicators
  • Labour Compensation
  • Producer Prices
  • Wholesale Prices
  • Consumer Prices
  • Other Prices
  • Monetary Aggregates and their Components
  • Domestic Credit and Debt
  • Interest Rates
  • Security Issues
  • Share Prices
  • Currency Conversions
  • External Finance
  • International Trade
  • Balance of Payments

See the OECD's comprehensive list of indicators which includes:

  • Part 1: Indicators by subject
  • Part 2: Indicators for OECD Member countries
  • Part 3: Indicators for OECD non-member countries

sources and definitions

OECD provides a Sources and Definitions page which gives explanations on sources and definitions used by each member country and the OECD to compile the main economic indicators. They provide the latest information on each series and also indicate to what extent cross-country comparisons can be made.

To use their pages, first select a country from the drop-down list, then a subject.

The methodological information is presented by country then topic, subdivided, where appropriate, into the following four categories:

  • Definition: provides a brief description of the concept and definition used
  • Coverage: refers to geographical coverage, statistical population, etc
  • Collection: describes how data are collected by the compiling agency
  • Calculation: briefly describes calculation methods applied

If you are using the data to compare countries, the OECD recommends you use the seasonally adjusted figures where available. 

Access OECD data

Access to the OECD MEI via UKDS.Stat is freely available to all.

Effective July 15th 2015, the UK Data Service made access to OECD online statistics databases free to all users. Please refer to the OECD’s Terms and Conditions, including information on ‘What can you do with OECD published content (data, text and multimedia products).


The OECD produces the following documentation about the database:

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