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Monthly US business cycle indicators: A new multivariate approach based on a band-pass filter


  • Marczak, Martyna
  • Gómez, Victor


This article proposes a new multivariate method to construct business cycle indicators. The method is based on a decomposition into trend-cycle and irregular. To derive the cycle, a multivariate band-pass filter is applied to the estimated trend-cycle. The whole procedure is fully model-based. Using a set of monthly and quarterly US time series, two monthly business cycle indicators are obtained for the US. They are represented by the smoothed cycles of real GDP and the industrial production index. Both indicators are able to reproduce previous recessions very well. Series contributing to the construction of both indicators are allowed to be leading, lagging or coincident relative to the business cycle. Their behavior is assessed by means of the phase angle and the mean phase angle after cycle estimation. The proposed multivariate method can serve as an attractive tool for policy making, in particular due to its good forecasting performance and quite simple setting. The model ensures reliable realtime forecasts even though it does not involve elaborate mechanisms that account for, e.g., changes in volatility.

Suggested Citation

  • Marczak, Martyna & Gómez, Victor, 2013. "Monthly US business cycle indicators: A new multivariate approach based on a band-pass filter," FZID Discussion Papers 64-2013, University of Hohenheim, Center for Research on Innovation and Services (FZID).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:fziddp:642013

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Roberto S. Mariano & Yasutomo Murasawa, 2003. "A new coincident index of business cycles based on monthly and quarterly series," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(4), pages 427-443.
    2. Martyna Marczak & Thomas Beissinger, 2013. "Real wages and the business cycle in Germany," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 44(2), pages 469-490, April.
    3. 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.
    4. Bańbura, Marta & Giannone, Domenico & Modugno, Michele & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 2013. "Now-Casting and the Real-Time Data Flow," Handbook of Economic Forecasting, Elsevier.
    5. Gomez, Victor, 2001. "The Use of Butterworth Filters for Trend and Cycle Estimation in Economic Time Series," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 19(3), pages 365-373, July.
    6. Valle e Azevedo, Joao & Koopman, Siem Jan & Rua, Antonio, 2006. "Tracking the Business Cycle of the Euro Area: A Multivariate Model-Based Bandpass Filter," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 24, pages 278-290, July.
    7. Mario Forni & Marc Hallin & Marco Lippi & Lucrezia Reichlin, 2000. "The Generalized Dynamic-Factor Model: Identification And Estimation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 540-554, November.
    8. Gerhard Runstler, 2004. "Modelling phase shifts among stochastic cycles," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 7(1), pages 232-248, June.
    9. Olivier Blanchard & John Simon, 2001. "The Long and Large Decline in U.S. Output Volatility," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 135-174.
    10. Marczak, Martyna & Gómez, Víctor, 2012. "SPECTRAN, a set of Matlab programs for Spectral analysis," FZID Discussion Papers 60-2012, University of Hohenheim, Center for Research on Innovation and Services (FZID).
    11. Andrew C. Harvey & Thomas M. Trimbur, 2003. "General Model-Based Filters for Extracting Cycles and Trends in Economic Time Series," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(2), pages 244-255, May.
    12. Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez-Quiros, 2000. "Output fluctuations in the United States: what has changed since the early 1980s?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
    13. Arthur F. Burns & Wesley C. Mitchell, 1946. "Measuring Business Cycles," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number burn46-1, January.
    14. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1989. "New Indexes of Coincident and Leading Economic Indicators," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 351-409 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & David H. Small, 2005. "Nowcasting GDP and inflation: the real-time informational content of macroeconomic data releases," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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    More about this item


    business cycle; multivariate structural time series model; univariate band-pass filter; forecasts; phase angle;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • C18 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Methodolical Issues: General
    • 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

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