IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Survey-based nowcasting of US growth: a real-time forecast comparison over more than 40 years

  • D’Agostino, Antonello
  • Schnatz, Bernd

Reliable and timely information about current economic conditions is crucial for policy makers and expectations formation. This paper demonstrates the efficacy of the Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF) and the Purchasing Manager Indices (PMI) in anticipating US real economic activity. We conduct a fully-fledged real-time out-ofsample forecasting exercise linking these surveys to US GDP and industrial production growth over a long sample period. We find that both indicators convey valuable information for assessing current economic conditions. The SPF clearly outperforms the PMI in forecasting GDP growth, while it performs quite poorly in anticipating industrial production growth. Combining the information included in both surveys further improves the accuracy of both, the PMI and the SPF-based forecast. JEL Classification: E37, E47, C22, C53

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1455.

in new window

Date of creation: Aug 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20121455
Contact details of provider: Postal:
60640 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Phone: +49 69 1344 0
Fax: +49 69 1344 6000
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Evan F. Koenig, 2002. "Using the Purchasing Managers' Index to assess the economy's strength and the likely direction of monetary policy," Economic and Financial Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  2. Liebermann, Joelle, 2011. "Real-Time Nowcasting of GDP: Factor Model versus Professional Forecasters," Research Technical Papers 3/RT/11, Central Bank of Ireland.
  3. Genre, Véronique & Kenny, Geoff & Meyler, Aidan & Timmermann, Allan, 2010. "Combining the forecasts in the ECB survey of professional forecasters: can anything beat the simple average?," Working Paper Series 1277, European Central Bank.
  4. S. Boragan Aruoba & Francis X. Diebold & Chiara Scotti, 2007. "Real-time measurement of business conditions," International Finance Discussion Papers 901, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Kenneth D. West & Todd Clark, 2006. "Approximately Normal Tests for Equal Predictive Accuracy in Nested Models," NBER Technical Working Papers 0326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia & Small, David, 2005. "Nowcasting GDP and Inflation: The Real Time Informational Content of Macroeconomic Data Releases," CEPR Discussion Papers 5178, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. D'Agostino, Antonello & McQuinn, Kieran & Whelan, Karl, 2010. "Are Some Forecasters Really Better Than Others?," Research Technical Papers 5/RT/10, Central Bank of Ireland.
  8. Kajal Lahiri & George Monokroussos, 2011. "Nowcasting US GDP: The role of ISM Business Surveys," Discussion Papers 11-01, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
  9. Carriero, Andrea & Marcellino, Massimiliano, 2007. "A comparison of methods for the construction of composite coincident and leading indexes for the UK," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 219-236.
  10. Jakaitiene, Audrone & Dées, Stéphane, 2009. "Forecasting the world economy in the short-term," Working Paper Series 1059, European Central Bank.
  11. Vermeulen, Philip, 2012. "Quantifying the qualitative responses of the output purchasing managers index in the US and the Euro area," Working Paper Series 1417, European Central Bank.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20121455. 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: (Official Publications)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.