Intrinio provides a real-time macro economic data API with Excel access for free. There are more than 200,000 data series available, including non-farm payrolls, interest rates, exchange rates and more. This article shows how to access that data, both the most recent data and historically, in Excel and API.
If you aren't familiar with Intrinio, this article will get you started. You can create an account for free, which will give you access to the API keys you need to enter to use the Excel add-in and API. Follow the Excel tutorial or the API tutorial if you have never used Intrinio before.
Economic Data In Excel Examples
Once you are up and running in Excel, you will be familiar with this syntax:
In that formula, you put a stock ticker, "AAPL", with a data tag, "last_price", to pull the real time stock price for that stock. To pull the most recent economic data, you replace the ticker with the tag for an economic index and the item with a tag describing how you want to see the data.
In this case, I am using the tag PAYEMS, which represents non-farm payrolls, and the item "level", which tells me the most recent level, or amount, of that tag. I need to include a "$" in front of my item to denote that this is an economic index not a stock. You can view the items that are available here, and look up economic indexes here.
Using those two lookup features, I could, for example, pull the percent change from a year ago, percent_change, for the federal funds effective rate, $FEDFUNDS, like this:
You can also pull economic data historically. If you are unfamiliar with historical data, check out this article showing how to pull historical marketcap. You can use the same syntax, just substitute the economic index and item, like this:
I can specify a different frequency (yearly, daily, etc), change the dates, and use different sequences to pull in time series data like this:
Depending on the economic index, historical data can be pulled in for 80 years or more. It is important to remember that, unlike stocks, economic data only has a dozen or so ways it can be pulled (level, percent change, yearly change, etc) and economic indexes need a "$" in front of them.
Economic Data API Examples
If you are unfamiliar with Intrinio's API, check out this article. If you have used it before, this syntax will look familiar:
This call pulls in Apple's price to earnings ratio. If you would rather make an economic data api call, just change AAPL to the tag you need from this list, and pricetoearnings to the item you need from this list:
This call returns the most recent non-farm payroll level, which is tagged PAYEMS by the federal reserve. Don't forget to add "$" which tells Intrinio this is an economic data series, not a stock.
This call shows how to pull in the VIX, a measure of volatility, historically:
You can also specify dates:
If you want to pull a list of economic indices via api, this is a good way:
That will return nearly 300,000 indicies. A small number of them, less than 100, represent indicies from other Intrinio data feeds, however the majority are economic indexes.
You can also search for a specific index like this:
This is free?
Yup. We source the economic data api data directly from the Federal Reserve and serve it up to you without a delay. Our mission is to make financial data affordable and accessible so our users can save money and make time to build something meaningful. We have many paid plans, but not for economic data. We hope you will use the data- for us, this is just one more chance to shake up an industry that has forgotten about the end user.