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GDPNow: A Model for GDP "Nowcasting"

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This paper documents GDPNow, a "nowcasting" model for gross domestic product (GDP) growth that synthesizes the "bridge equation" approach relating GDP subcomponents to monthly source data with the factor model approach used by Giannone, Reichlin, and Small (2008). The GDPNow model forecasts GDP growth by aggregating 13 subcomponents that make up GDP with the chain-weighting methodology used by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Using current vintage data, out-of-sample GDPNow model forecasts are found to be more accurate than a number of statistical benchmarks since 2000. Using real-time data since the second-half of 2011, GDPNow model forecasts are found to be only slightly inferior to consensus near-term GDP forecasts from Blue Chip Economic Indicators. The forecast error variance of GDP growth for each of the GDPNow model, Blue Chip, and the Federal Reserve staff's Green Book is decomposed as the sum of the forecast error covariances for the contributions to growth of the subcomponents of GDP. The decompositions show that "net exports" and "change in private inventories" are particularly difficult subcomponents to nowcast.

Suggested Citation

  • Higgins, Patrick C., 2014. "GDPNow: A Model for GDP "Nowcasting"," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2014-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2014-07
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    1. Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia & Small, David, 2008. "Nowcasting: The real-time informational content of macroeconomic data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 665-676, May.
    2. Marta Bańbura, 2008. "Large Bayesian VARs," 2008 Meeting Papers 334, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Catherine Doz & Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin, 2012. "A Quasi–Maximum Likelihood Approach for Large, Approximate Dynamic Factor Models," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(4), pages 1014-1024, November.
    4. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2007. "Erratum to "Why Has U.S. Inflation Become Harder to Forecast?"," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(7), pages 1849-1849, October.
    5. Elena Andreou & Eric Ghysels & Andros Kourtellos, 2013. "Should Macroeconomic Forecasters Use Daily Financial Data and How?," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(2), pages 240-251, April.
    6. Barhoumi, K. & Brunhes-Lesage, V. & Darné, O. & Ferrara, L. & Pluyaud, B. & Rouvreau, B., 2008. "Monthly forecasting of French GDP: A revised version of the OPTIM model," Working papers 222, Banque de France.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Faust, Jon & Wright, Jonathan H., 2009. "Comparing Greenbook and Reduced Form Forecasts Using a Large Realtime Dataset," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27(4), pages 468-479.
    10. Edward S. Knotek Ii & Saeed Zaman, 2017. "Nowcasting U.S. Headline and Core Inflation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 49(5), pages 931-968, August.
    11. Frank Smets & Rafael Wouters, 2007. "Shocks and Frictions in US Business Cycles: A Bayesian DSGE Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 586-606, June.
    12. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2007. "Why Has U.S. Inflation Become Harder to Forecast?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(s1), pages 3-33, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:ecmode:v:69:y:2018:i:c:p:160-168 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Manuel Gonzalez-Astudillo & Daniel Baquero, 2018. "A Nowcasting Model for the Growth Rate of Real GDP of Ecuador : Implementing a Time-Varying Intercept," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2018-044, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US).
    3. Doll, Jens & Rosenthal, Beatrice & Volkenand, Jonas & Hamella, Sandra, 2017. "Nowcasting des deutschen BIP," Weidener Diskussionspapiere 59, University of Applied Sciences Amberg-Weiden (OTH).
    4. Kyosuke Chikamatsu, Naohisa Hirakata, Yosuke Kido, Kazuki Otaka, 2018. "Nowcasting Japanese GDPs," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series 18-E-18, Bank of Japan.
    5. Cobb, Marcus P A, 2018. "Improving Underlying Scenarios for Aggregate Forecasts: A Multi-level Combination Approach," MPRA Paper 88593, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. repec:anr:reveco:v:10:y:2018:p:615-643 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:taf:applec:v:49:y:2017:i:38:p:3880-3890 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Brandyn Bok & Daniele Caratelli & Domenico Giannone & Argia M. Sbordone & Andrea Tambalotti, 2018. "Macroeconomic Nowcasting and Forecasting with Big Data," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 10(1), pages 615-643, August.
    9. repec:onb:oenbfi:y:2018:i:q4/18:b:1 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Ellul, Reuben, 2016. "A real-time measure of business conditions in Malta," MPRA Paper 75057, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Smith Paul, 2016. "Nowcasting UK GDP during the depression," Working Papers 1606, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
    12. Martina Hengge & Seton Leonard, 2017. "Factor Models for Non-Stationary Series: Estimates of Monthly U.S. GDP," IHEID Working Papers 13-2017, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    nowcasting; forecasting; macroeconometric forecasting;

    JEL classification:

    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

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