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

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  • Schnatz, Bernd
  • D'Agostino, Antonello

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

  • Schnatz, Bernd & D'Agostino, Antonello, 2012. "Survey-based nowcasting of US growth: a real-time forecast comparison over more than 40 years," Working Paper Series 1455, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20121455
    Note: 231394
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Raffaella Giacomini, 2015. "Economic theory and forecasting: lessons from the literature," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 18(2), pages 22-41, June.
    2. Kilinc, Zubeyir & Yucel, Eray, 2016. "PMI Thresholds for GDP Growth," MPRA Paper 70929, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Gabe J. Bondt, 2019. "A PMI-Based Real GDP Tracker for the Euro Area," Journal of Business Cycle Research, Springer;Centre for International Research on Economic Tendency Surveys (CIRET), vol. 15(2), pages 147-170, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    business cycle; forecasting; PMI; Real Time Data; US;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E47 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods

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