Forecasting Forum

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CBO’s Economic Forecasting Record: 2019 Update

From Congressional Budget Office:

“CBO’s economic forecasts have been comparable in quality to those of the Administration and the Blue Chip consensus. Large errors in CBO’s forecasts tend to reflect challenges faced by all forecasters.

 

Each year, CBO prepares economic forecasts that underlie its projections of the federal budget. CBO forecasts hundreds of economic variables, but some—including output growth, the unemployment rate, inflation, interest rates, and wages and salaries—play a particularly significant role in the agency’s budget projections. To evaluate the quality of its economic projections, estimate uncertainty ranges, and isolate the effect of economic errors on budgetary projections, CBO regularly analyzes its historical forecast errors. That analysis serves as a tool for assessing the usefulness of the agency’s projections.

In this report, CBO evaluates its two-year and five-year economic forecasts from as early as 1976 and compares them with analogous forecasts from the Administration and the Blue Chip consensus—an average of about 50 private-sector forecasts published in Blue Chip Economic Indicators. External comparisons help identify areas in which the agency has tended to make larger errors than other analysts. They also indicate the extent to which imperfect information may have caused all forecasters to miss patterns or turning points in the economy.”

Continue reading here.

From Congressional Budget Office:

“CBO’s economic forecasts have been comparable in quality to those of the Administration and the Blue Chip consensus. Large errors in CBO’s forecasts tend to reflect challenges faced by all forecasters.

 

Each year, CBO prepares economic forecasts that underlie its projections of the federal budget. CBO forecasts hundreds of economic variables, but some—including output growth,

Read the full article…

Posted by at 11:15 AM

Labels: Forecasting Forum

Recession 2020?

An interesting presentation on recession dynamics by Tara M Sinclair from George Washington University. They answer three fundamental questions:

“1. Are we in a recession now?

2. When is the next recession coming?

3. What will the next recession look like? ”

 

Source: Recession 2020? Tara M. Sinclair @TaraSinc The George Washington UniversityResearch  Program on Forecasting

An interesting presentation on recession dynamics by Tara M Sinclair from George Washington University. They answer three fundamental questions:

“1. Are we in a recession now?

2. When is the next recession coming?

3. What will the next recession look like? ”

 

Source: Recession 2020? Tara M. Sinclair @TaraSinc The George Washington UniversityResearch  Program on Forecasting

Read the full article…

Posted by at 4:14 PM

Labels: Forecasting Forum

Attempting to Avoid a Recession: Fortune or Folly?

An intriguing analysis by the SEI Knowledge Center on forecasting recessions:

“To explore this possibility, we looked at the last 13 recessions in the US dating back to 1937. US data was used due to availability of a longer history; we believe the core conclusions of the analysis should be the same for any geography or market. We considered a range of sell-and-buy scenarios surrounding the official start and end dates of each recession, as determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research (or NBER, a private, non-profit, non-partisan organisation). The timing of our hypothetical decisions to sell out of the market and buy back into the market varied by up to eight quarters before and after each actual recession start and end date. This gave us a grand total of 2,577 scenarios to consider, as highlighted in Exhibit 1.”

Exhibit 1: Endless Possibilities

Chart 1: Endless possibilities

Source: Bloomberg, SEI

An intriguing analysis by the SEI Knowledge Center on forecasting recessions:

“To explore this possibility, we looked at the last 13 recessions in the US dating back to 1937. US data was used due to availability of a longer history; we believe the core conclusions of the analysis should be the same for any geography or market. We considered a range of sell-and-buy scenarios surrounding the official start and end dates of each recession,

Read the full article…

Posted by at 12:29 PM

Labels: Forecasting Forum

Recession Forecasts Are So Bad, They’re Good

From Bloomberg:

Economists, notoriously terrible at predicting downturns, may be inadvertently providing a useful service.

It’s no secret that economists are terrible at predicting recessions: a host of studies, along with a raft of anecdotal evidence, reveals a track record that is astonishingly bad. This has prompted a growing number of market watchers to conclude that forecasting recessions is a fool’s game.

But there’s another way to look at this dismal record. What if economists are so bad at predicting recessions that they’re actually good? What if a profession that consistently, almost universally, gets something wrong is inadvertently getting something right?

Prakash Loungani and his colleagues at the International Monetary Fund conducted the most sophisticated studies of economic forecasting, assessing the accuracy of economists in 63 countries between the years of 1992 and 2014. The results, as my colleagues at Bloomberg have noted (see here and here) are mind-blowingly awful. In fact, every single country displayed the exact same bad track record of predicting recessions. Moreover, as Loungani and his co-authors noted, “the forecasts of the private sector and public sector are virtually identical; thus, both are equally good at missing recessions.”

Good at missing recessions. Think about that for a moment. Economic forecasts consistently miss the onset of recessions.

This means that their failure to predict is a problem altogether different from the failures emphasized by the random-walk hypothesis and other critiques of prognostication. Economists predict the future incorrectly, but their failures are, well, predictable. Does that mean they may be telling us something important after all?

To understand the implications of this question, consider the typical progression of erroneous forecasts over the course of a recession’s first year. Loungani found that forecasts made on the eve of a recession (when almost no one imagines there’s trouble brewing) are more or less in line with the previous year’s predictions.”

Continue reading here.

From Bloomberg:

Economists, notoriously terrible at predicting downturns, may be inadvertently providing a useful service.

It’s no secret that economists are terrible at predicting recessions: a host of studies, along with a raft of anecdotal evidence, reveals a track record that is astonishingly bad. This has prompted a growing number of market watchers to conclude that forecasting recessions is a fool’s game.

But there’s another way to look at this dismal record.

Read the full article…

Posted by at 11:20 AM

Labels: Forecasting Forum

The next US recession is likely to be around the corner

From a VOX article:

“Business economists argue that the length of an expansion is a good indicator of when a recession will hit. Using both parametric and non-parametric measures, this column finds strong support for the theory from post-WWII data on the US economy. The findings suggest there is good reason to expect a US recession in the next two years.”

“[…] we estimate in Beaudry and Portier (2019) the probability of the US economy entering a recession in the following year (or following two years), conditional on the expansion having lasted q quarters. This can be done in a parametric way based on the Weibull distribution, or non-parametrically using Kaplan and Meier’s estimator of the survival function. Regardless of the method, and using post-WW2 US data, there is consistent evidence of age-dependence, as shown in Figure 1. For an expansion that has lasted only five quarters, the probability of entering a recession in the next year is around 10%, while this increases to 30-40% if the expansion has lasted over 35 quarters. Similarly, if looking at a two years window, we find the probability of entering a recession in the next two years raises from 25-30% to around 50-80% as the expansion extends from five quarters to 32 quarters (the exact probability depends on whether we use a parametric or a non-parametric approach). ”

From a VOX article:

“Business economists argue that the length of an expansion is a good indicator of when a recession will hit. Using both parametric and non-parametric measures, this column finds strong support for the theory from post-WWII data on the US economy. The findings suggest there is good reason to expect a US recession in the next two years.”

“[…] we estimate in Beaudry and Portier (2019) the probability of the US economy entering a recession in the following year (or following two years),

Read the full article…

Posted by at 9:41 AM

Labels: Forecasting Forum

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