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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 a 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^.US   = 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?.US = All Fed CCAR scenarios

Examples with geo codes

  • ^^         = State (also DC and territories)
  • IUSA_M^^^  = Metropolitan statistical area
  • IUSA_DM^^^ = Metropolitan division (one of the 29 portions of the 11 largest MSAs)
  • Z^^^^^     = ZIP Code area

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.