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Forecasting National Recessions Using State‐Level Data

Listed author(s):
  • MICHAEL T. OWYANG
  • JEREMY PIGER
  • HOWARD J. WALL

We investigate whether there is information useful for identifying U.S. business cycle phases contained in subnational measures of economic activity. Using a probit model to forecast the National Bureau of Economic Research expansion and recession classification, we assess the incremental information content of state‐level employment growth over a commonly used set of national‐level predictors. As state‐level data adds a large number of predictors to the model, we employ a Bayesian model averaging procedure to construct forecasts. Based on a variety of forecast evaluation metrics, we find that including state‐level employment growth substantially improves nowcasts and very short‐horizon forecasts of the business cycle phase. The gains in forecast accuracy are concentrated during months of national recession.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/jmcb.12228
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Article provided by Blackwell Publishing in its journal Journal of Money, Credit and Banking.

Volume (Year): 47 (2015)
Issue (Month): 5 (08)
Pages: 847-866

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jmoncb:v:47:y:2015:i:5:p:847-866
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0022-2879

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  1. Chauvet, Marcelle & Piger, Jeremy, 2008. "A Comparison of the Real-Time Performance of Business Cycle Dating Methods," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 26, pages 42-49, January.
  2. Thomas B. King & Andrew T. Levin & Roberto Perli, 2007. "Financial market perceptions of recession risk," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-57, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Wesley Clair Mitchell, 1927. "Business Cycles: The Problem and Its Setting," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number mitc27-1, 01.
  4. James D. Hamilton & Michael T. Owyang, 2012. "The Propagation of Regional Recessions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(4), pages 935-947, November.
  5. Arthur F. Burns & Wesley C. Mitchell, 1946. "Measuring Business Cycles," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number burn46-1, 01.
  6. Hernandez-Murillo, Ruben & Owyang, Michael T., 2006. "The information content of regional employment data for forecasting aggregate conditions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(3), pages 335-339, March.
  7. Hamilton, James D., 2011. "Calling recessions in real time," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 1006-1026, October.
  8. Michael T. Owyang & Jeremy Piger & Howard J. Wall, 2005. "Business Cycle Phases in U.S. States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(4), pages 604-616, November.
  9. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-384, March.
  10. Wesley Clair Mitchell, 1927. "Introductory pages to "Business Cycles: The Problem and Its Setting"," NBER Chapters,in: Business Cycles: The Problem and Its Setting, pages -23 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Estrella, Arturo, 1998. "A New Measure of Fit for Equations with Dichotomous Dependent Variables," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 16(2), pages 198-205, April.
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