Irish policymakers hoping to map a path to recovery from the deepest recession in history are scrambling for new ways in which to make sense of a rollercoaster ride of economic data.
Last week's report of a record rise in Irish retail sales for the month of June gave rise to renewed talk of a "V-shaped" rapid economic recovery here.
That optimism was punctured just a few days later when US gross domestic product (GDP) data showed the economy had contracted by an eye-popping 32.9pc on an annualised basis in the second quarter of this year.
Of course, that headline doesn't actually tell the story, as on a quarterly basis - which is the measure used in most economies - the decline was in the region of 10.6pc. That is still a horrific number and has wiped out five years of growth in the world's largest economy.
The Irish economy is more heavily geared to the US cycle than to any other, so it matters.
That gloom was compounded on Friday when a decade of economic growth in Germany was obliterated, along with an eye-watering 18 years in France.
As surely as Irish retail sales staged their "record rise", those GDP numbers will rebound. It's just that won't tell us anything useful.
"Where the figures for the second quarter shattered some negative records, it is safe to say that the GDP figures for the third quarter will break some positive records," said Rabobank economist Erik-Jan van Harn. "Although this sounds promising, this is just a technical correction."
There are two issues here that are important if you are a policymaker in the Government and making a decision, say, on when to wind up the costly Pandemic Unemployment Programme, or on what terms money can be funnelled to companies, what that might cost and over what time.
The first issue is that the indicators may not actually be telling you anything. The second is that they are often published with a huge lag, so are of little use in guiding policy.
In the first case, the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) series which was once on of the most important surveys of firms' plans and which came out earlier than official data, is now seen as redundant and has been dubbed by some market economists the "Perfectly Meaningless Indicator" as they measure a month-on-month change in companies' activities.
Ireland's National Accounts data on consumer spending and investment for April to June 2020 will not be published until September, and waiting three months to assess policy is simply not an option when the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people here are at stake.
Economists have no idea yet how much of the damage that has been caused the coronavirus pandemic is temporary, which could lead to a rapid rebound in growth and employment, and how much may be permanent.
Very different approaches to boosting the economy and sustaining companies and jobs will be needed.
In 'normal' times, unemployment rises sharply and then falls slowly. Prior to the pandemic, Ireland was approaching the pre-financial crash lows in joblessness, but had not gotten there even after years of strong GDP growth.
If there is a delay in employment growth this time round, then more firms will go bust, piling pressure on bank balance sheets and potentially loading a financial crisis of some description onto an already ailing economy.
Both the Central Bank of Ireland and the Department of Finance are trying to plug the gap, and to look at alternative indicators that will give them a better idea of what is actually going on in the economy in close to 'real time'.
Much of this has been enabled by technology, mobile phones transmit our positions and activity, browsing activity is tracked and you - and others - can now see what you spend.
"Given the unprecedented speed at which economic activity reversed in the first half of the year, policymakers in all countries are facing important data gaps," the Department said last week as it published its findings on 'ultra-high-frequency' data for payments, hiring, mobility and traffic.
It uses data from fintech bank Revolut, jobs network LinkedIn, and payments provider Stripe among with other measures such as Google Mobility data.
"Most indicators (for example, payments or traffic) demonstrate a low point during April, with some indicators now at or above their pre-Covid level," the Department said, citing payments and restaurant bookings as areas that had recovered.
Other indicators it looked at, such as energy consumption or people switching jobs, appear to have stabilised at a new level or to have started to recover very slowly.
The Central Bank of Ireland has taken a different approach.
It has collated and back-tested its own Business Cycle Indicator (BCI), which is a monthly summary indicator of overall economic conditions based on a larger set of data releases.
While the Central Bank's survey casts its net more widely, it incorporates PMIs, whose weaknesses have led to the indicator being "parked" by most investment bank economists alongside other indicators that may not work so well in current times.
Retail sales are also in the Central Bank's mix - but that measure is does not measure total consumer spending as it accounts for a fraction of services sector activity. It may not pick up trends in some of the worst-hit sectors such as hospitality and recreation.
"Across economies, retail spending accounts for only 25pc-50pc of total consumer spending, and some of the areas it misses are those especially damaged by the coronavirus crisis," Adam Slater of Oxford Economics wrote recently.
In a report on the new indicators, Central Bank economists Thomas Conefrey and Graeme Walsh asserted that "Providing timely information to policymakers is important in order to increase our understanding of the scale of the crisis, for risk assessment purposes as well as to assist with the formulation of appropriate policy responses".
'Big data' is certainly here, but how much use it will be on the current economic rollercoaster is open to question.
That said, it is a better option than simply closing your eyes and praying for the ride to end.