IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Using large data sets to forecast sectoral employment


  • Rangan Gupta


  • Alain Kabundi
  • Stephen Miller
  • Josine Uwilingiye


We use several models using classical and Bayesian methods to forecast employment for eight sectors of the US economy. In addition to using standard vector-autoregressive and Bayesian vector autoregressive models, we also augment these models to include the information content of 143 additional monthly series in some models. Several approaches exist for incorporating information from a large number of series. We consider two multivariate approaches—extracting common factors (principal components) and Bayesian shrinkage. After extracting the common factors, we use Bayesian factor-augmented vector autoregressive and vector error-correction models, as well as Bayesian shrinkage in a large-scale Bayesian vector autoregressive models. For an in-sample period of January 1972 to December 1989 and an out-of-sample period of January 1990 to March 2010, we compare the forecast performance of the alternative models. More specifically, we perform ex-post and ex-ante out-of-sample forecasts from January 1990 through March 2009 and from April 2009 through March 2010, respectively. We find that factor augmented models, especially error-correction versions, generally prove the best in out-of-sample forecast performance, implying that in addition to macroeconomic variables, incorporating long-run relationships along with short-run dynamics play an important role in forecasting employment. Forecast combination models, however, based on the simple average forecasts of the various models used, outperform the best performing individual models for six of the eight sectoral employment series. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Rangan Gupta & Alain Kabundi & Stephen Miller & Josine Uwilingiye, 2014. "Using large data sets to forecast sectoral employment," Statistical Methods & Applications, Springer;Società Italiana di Statistica, vol. 23(2), pages 229-264, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:stmapp:v:23:y:2014:i:2:p:229-264
    DOI: 10.1007/s10260-013-0243-6

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Banerjee, Anindya & Marcellino, Massimiliano, 2008. "Factor-augmented Error Correction Models," CEPR Discussion Papers 6707, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Richard M. Todd, 1984. "Improving economic forecasting with Bayesian vector autoregression," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall.
    3. Forni, Mario & Hallin, Marc & Lippi, Marco & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 2005. "The Generalized Dynamic Factor Model: One-Sided Estimation and Forecasting," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 100, pages 830-840, September.
    4. Banerjee, Anindya & Marcellino, Massimiliano & Masten, Igor, 2014. "Forecasting with factor-augmented error correction models," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 589-612.
    5. David Rapach & Jack Strauss, 2010. "Bagging or Combining (or Both)? An Analysis Based on Forecasting U.S. Employment Growth," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(5-6), pages 511-533.
    6. Raffaella Giacomini & Halbert White, 2006. "Tests of Conditional Predictive Ability," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1545-1578, November.
    7. Rapach, David E. & Strauss, Jack K., 2012. "Forecasting US state-level employment growth: An amalgamation approach," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 315-327.
    8. Clark, Todd E. & McCracken, Michael W., 2001. "Tests of equal forecast accuracy and encompassing for nested models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 85-110, November.
    9. Jushan Bai & Serena Ng, 2002. "Determining the Number of Factors in Approximate Factor Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 191-221, January.
    10. Rangan Gupta & Stephen Miller, 2012. "“Ripple effects” and forecasting home prices in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Phoenix," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 48(3), pages 763-782, June.
    11. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2005. "Implications of Dynamic Factor Models for VAR Analysis," NBER Working Papers 11467, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Das, Sonali & Gupta, Rangan & Kabundi, Alain, 2009. "Could we have predicted the recent downturn in the South African housing market?," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 325-335, December.
    13. Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 1999. "Forecasting inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 293-335, October.
    14. Zellner, Arnold & Palm, Franz, 1974. "Time series analysis and simultaneous equation econometric models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 17-54, May.
    15. Thomas Doan & Robert B. Litterman & Christopher A. Sims, 1983. "Forecasting and Conditional Projection Using Realistic Prior Distributions," NBER Working Papers 1202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Jushan Bai & Serena Ng, 2004. "A PANIC Attack on Unit Roots and Cointegration," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(4), pages 1127-1177, July.
    17. Carriero, A. & Kapetanios, G. & Marcellino, M., 2009. "Forecasting exchange rates with a large Bayesian VAR," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 400-417.
    18. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
    19. Rangan Gupta & Stephen M. Miller, 2009. "The Time-Series Properties on Housing Prices: A Case Study of the Southern California Market," Working papers 2009-10, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2009.
    20. Andrea Carriero & George Kapetanios & Massimiliano Marcellino, 2011. "Forecasting large datasets with Bayesian reduced rank multivariate models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(5), pages 735-761, August.
    21. James H. Stock & Mark W.Watson, 2003. "Forecasting Output and Inflation: The Role of Asset Prices," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(3), pages 788-829, September.
    22. Taylor, Carol A., 1982. "Econometric modeling of urban and other substate areas : An analysis of alternative methodologies," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 425-448, August.
    23. Ben S. Bernanke & Jean Boivin & Piotr Eliasz, 2005. "Measuring the Effects of Monetary Policy: A Factor-Augmented Vector Autoregressive (FAVAR) Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(1), pages 387-422.
    24. Jean Boivin & Serena Ng, 2005. "Understanding and Comparing Factor-Based Forecasts," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 1(3), December.
    25. Marta Banbura & Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin, 2010. "Large Bayesian vector auto regressions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(1), pages 71-92.
    26. Gupta, Rangan & Kabundi, Alain & Miller, Stephen M., 2011. "Forecasting the US real house price index: Structural and non-structural models with and without fundamentals," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 2013-2021, July.
    27. Sims, Christopher A & Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 1990. "Inference in Linear Time Series Models with Some Unit Roots," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 113-144, January.
    28. Bhardwaj, Geetesh & Swanson, Norman R., 2006. "An empirical investigation of the usefulness of ARFIMA models for predicting macroeconomic and financial time series," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 131(1-2), pages 539-578.
    29. Litterman, Robert B, 1986. "Forecasting with Bayesian Vector Autoregressions-Five Years of Experience," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 4(1), pages 25-38, January.
    30. Christoffel, Kai & Warne, Anders & Coenen, Günter, 2010. "Forecasting with DSGE models," Working Paper Series 1185, European Central Bank.
    31. Anindya Banerjee & Massimiliano Marcellino & Igor Masten, 2010. "Forecasting with Factor-augmented Error Correction," Discussion Papers 09-06r, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
    32. Glennon, Dennis & Lane, Julia & Johnson, Stanley, 1987. "Regional econometric models that reflect labor market relations," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 299-312.
    33. David E. Rapach & Jack K. Strauss, 2005. "Forecasting employment growth in Missouri with many potentially relevant predictors: an analysis of forecast combining methods," Regional Economic Development, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 97-112.
    34. Bai, Jushan, 2004. "Estimating cross-section common stochastic trends in nonstationary panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 137-183, September.
    35. Johansen, Soren, 1991. "Estimation and Hypothesis Testing of Cointegration Vectors in Gaussian Vector Autoregressive Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1551-1580, November.
    36. Mark W. Watson & James H. Stock, 2004. "Combination forecasts of output growth in a seven-country data set," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(6), pages 405-430.
    37. Stock J.H. & Watson M.W., 2002. "Forecasting Using Principal Components From a Large Number of Predictors," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 97, pages 1167-1179, December.
    38. LeSage, James P, 1990. "A Comparison of the Forecasting Ability of ECM and VAR Models," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(4), pages 664-671, November.
    39. David E. Rapach & Jack K. Strauss, 2008. "Forecasting US employment growth using forecast combining methods," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(1), pages 75-93.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Hossein Hassani & Zara Ghodsi & Rangan Gupta & Mawuli Segnon, 2017. "Forecasting Home Sales in the Four Census Regions and the Aggregate US Economy Using Singular Spectrum Analysis," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 49(1), pages 83-97, January.

    More about this item


    Sectoral employment; Forecasting; Factor augmented models; Large-scale BVAR models; C32; R31;

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:stmapp:v:23:y:2014:i:2:p:229-264. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.