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Short-term forecasting of the US unemployment rate

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  • Maas, Benedikt

Abstract

This paper aims to assess whether Google search data is useful when predicting the US unemployment rate among other more traditional predictor variables. A weekly Google index is derived from the keyword “unemployment” and is used in diffusion index variants along with the weekly number of initial claims and monthly estimated latent factors. The unemployment rate forecasts are generated using MIDAS regression models that take into account the actual frequencies of the predictor variables. The forecasts are made in real-time and the forecasts of the best forecasting models exceed, for the most part, the root mean squared forecast error of two benchmarks. However, as the forecasting horizon increases, the forecasting performance of the best diffusion index variants decreases over time, which suggests that the forecasting methods proposed in this paper are most useful in the short-term.

Suggested Citation

  • Maas, Benedikt, 2019. "Short-term forecasting of the US unemployment rate," MPRA Paper 94066, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:94066
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/94066/1/MPRA_paper_94066.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Forecasting; Unemployment rate; MIDAS; Google Trends;

    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
    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • C55 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Large Data Sets: Modeling and Analysis
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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