The Bank of England is setting up a taskforce to monitor social media posts and online jobs boards to get a clearer picture of economic activity and help inform monetary policy decisions.
The special team, set up by the Bank's chief economist, Andy Haldane, has been charged with exploring how new sources of data could improve its picture of the British economy.
In an interview with Sky News
, Haldane said that the Bank had started to explore the use of social media chatter as a more timely indicator of mass market sentiment.
"Official statistics tend to be lagging and tend to be revised. And what this scraping of the web can do is give us a better today read on what's going on," he told Sky.
Haldane says the Bank has established a Big Data lab staffed by a new analytics team to construct algorithms and models for extracting and analysing data gleaned from unconventional online sources.
"This is quite a big strategic change for the bank," he told Sky, describing the initiative as a big shift from previous methods of making policy decisions.