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TitleUsing Data Buffet: Basket wild card expressions
AuthorPhillip Thorne

What is a wild card expression, and how can I use it to retrieve multiple time series with a concise basket?


Data Buffet contains many families of related indicators, such as:

  • Population by age brackets
  • Hierarchical industry detail for a single area
  • Employment for all metro areas

Is it possible to retrieve an entire family without selecting them individually from the catalog?  Yes, by using a wild card expression instead of an explicit list of single mnemonics.

Our time series are identified by alphanumeric mnemonics, which we design with specific structures to facilitate use of wild cards; that is, mnemonics are not sequentially-assigned vectors or accession numbers. For example, U.S. employment is published by NAICS industry, and our mnemonics incorporate the numeric NAICS codes. They are, in this respect, self-documenting.

There are two wild card characters in Data Buffet:

  • Caret - ^ - matches a single character in a mnemonic
  • Question mark - ? - matches zero or more characters

How to use

  1. Select one representative series from the dataset.
  2. Add to a basket.
  3. Edit the entry to use wild card characters.

In Grid Editor mode, a wild card entry will be labeled as "WILDCARD" in the Description column. You can left-click "WILDCARD" to open a pop-up menu, pick "View Expanded List," and see all matching mnemonics, descriptions and geo names.

A basket may contain multiple wild card expressions, or any mix of single mnemonics and wild cards. If your basket contains a large number of entries, or if you're working to streamline a family of mnemonics to a concise wild card expression, Power Editor mode may be easier to use; you can paste to/from an external spreadsheet or text editor.

Wild card expressions are only available in Baskets. They may not be used in Search; in View, Chart, or Map modes; in Basket Formulas; or in Moody's Analytics Power Tools for Microsoft Excel. If used, they will usually return a "series not found" error.

Examples with historical concept codes

  • HXCSHP1TI^ = All annual, semiannual and quarterly CSI home price indices (last character denotes frequency)
  • NACEGDP^Q  = Both SA and NSA versions of nominal GDP (penultimate character denotes adjustment)
  • NA^EGDP^Q  = Both nominal/real and SA/NSA versions
  • XAWE23^^^  = All 5-digit NAICS industries within "23" (construction) in the CES average weekly earnings dataset
  • XAWE23?    = All 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-digit industries within "23"

Examples with forecasts

  • FET_S^.IUSA   = All standard alternative scenarios for the forecast concept FET for the US geo
  • FLBF_?.N^     = Scenario-consistent baseline plus alternative scenarios for all "N-" states (NB, ND, NE, etc.)
  • FET_FED?.IUSA = All Fed CCAR scenarios

Examples with geo codes

  • ^^         = States and state-like areas
  • IUSA_M^^^  = Metropolitan statistical areas
  • IUSA_DM^^^ = Metropolitan divisions (one of the 29 portions of the 11 largest MSAs)
  • Z^^^^^     = ZIP Code areas

Related topics

From the catalog, you can use the Geo Wizard to multi-select related geographies. Charts can display up to ten series, and the easiest way to select them is to fill a basket first, then convert it. Maps implicitly display multiple series: you pick just one concept, but the geos are picked for you based on the map template (states, metro areas, countries in Europe, etc.).

In many cases, a geo list is preferable to a geo wild card. Geo lists return results in a consistent order, and can be more specific. We supply predefined geo lists for counties, for MSAs plus metro divisions, and for the specific areas in our forecast model.

To build a Power Tools spreadsheet with a large number of series, start with a basket.

See also