## Computing Percentage Changes

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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 6

# Computing Percentage Changes

I have an economic data series of positive and negative numbers and i am having difficulty computing the percentage change.  I  compute percentage change as:  [(current - prior)/prior]*100    (I am using the lag function for prior).   This works fine if the numbers are positive but errors occur in some cases with 2 negative numbers or a positive and a negative number.   For example:

prior  4

current 2     -50%  OK

prior 2

current 4     100%  OK

prior -4

current -2    - 50% error

prior -2

current -4     100% error

prior 4

current -2    -150%  OK

prior -4

current 2    -150%  error

prior 2

current -4   -300%  OK

prior -2

current 4   -300%  error

Accepted Solutions
Solution
‎02-16-2017 11:45 AM
Posts: 1,337

## Re: Computing Percentage Changes

I think you are concerned about the sign of the pct. From -4 to -2 you get -50%, but I think you want +50%.  I.e. you want the direction of the change to determine sign of pct.

data series;

input current @@;

pct= 100*sign(dif(current))*abs(dif(current)/lag(current));

datalines;

4    2    4    -2    -4    -2    2    -4    4

run;

All Replies
Super Contributor
Posts: 340

## Re: Computing Percentage Changes

Can you please provide an example dataset (in the form of a data step with datalines) and the program you used with a copy of the error message ?
Super User
Posts: 23,703

## Re: Computing Percentage Changes

Look at proc expand for creating the new variable.

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 11

## Re: Computing Percentage Changes

[ Edited ]

Could you post your code? I've tried this example and it works fine:

``````23         data _null_ ;
24           prior = -2 ;
25           current = -4 ;
26           dif = ((current - prior)/prior)*100 ;
27           put dif= ;
28         run ;

dif=100
NOTE: DATA statement used (Total process time):
real time           0.00 seconds
cpu time            0.00 seconds``````

Super User
Posts: 13,528

## Re: Computing Percentage Changes

You will have to describe WHY you consider some of the results "errors".

whith prior=-4 and current = -2 then your formula resolves to:

-2 - (-4) = 2

2/ -4 = -0.5

-0.5*100 = -50

So the -50% is correct from your formula. So either your formula is incorrect or your belief that the value is incorrect is wrong or you have not completely stated the problem.

As an aside, there is a companion function to LAG called DIF that is the equivalent of Var -  lag(var). So you can use Dif(var).

Solution
‎02-16-2017 11:45 AM
Posts: 1,337

## Re: Computing Percentage Changes

I think you are concerned about the sign of the pct. From -4 to -2 you get -50%, but I think you want +50%.  I.e. you want the direction of the change to determine sign of pct.

data series;

input current @@;

pct= 100*sign(dif(current))*abs(dif(current)/lag(current));

datalines;

4    2    4    -2    -4    -2    2    -4    4

run;

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 6

## Re: Computing Percentage Changes

Yes, this is exactly what I wanted to do.  ( I.e. you want the direction of the change to determine sign of pct.)