Working with Time Series Data

The Variables DATE and DATETIME

SAS/ETS procedures enable you to identify time series observations in many different ways to suit your needs. As discussed in preceding sections, you can use a combination of several ID variables, such as YEAR and MONTH for monthly data.

However, using a single SAS date or datetime ID variable is more convenient and enables you to take advantage of some features SAS/ETS procedures provide for processing ID variables. One such feature is automatic extrapolation of the ID variable to identify forecast observations. These features are discussed in following sections.

Thus, it is a good practice to include a SAS date or datetime ID variable in all the time series SAS data sets you create. It is also a good practice to always give the date or datetime ID variable a format appropriate for the data periodicity. (For information about creating SAS date and datetime values from multiple ID variables, see the section Computing Dates from Calendar Variables.)

You can assign a SAS date- or datetime-valued ID variable any name that conforms to SAS variable name requirements. However, you might find working with time series data in SAS easier and less confusing if you adopt the practice of always using the same name for the SAS date or datetime ID variable.

This book always names the date- or datetime-values ID variable DATE if it contains SAS date values or DATETIME if it contains SAS datetime values. This makes it easy to recognize the ID variable and also makes it easy to recognize whether this ID variable uses SAS date or datetime values.