Optimistic Again, Will A Fed Algorithm Be Right Again?
Published Friday, February 10, 2023 at: 8:44 PM EST
A Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta algorithm indicates the economy is growing +2.2% this quarter, while a survey of leading economists predicts the economy will shrink about three-tenths of 1%.
Consensus forecasts by economists are far from perfect. However, for years human forecasters have been more reliable than the GDPNow algorithm. In fact, over the years, GDPNow’s computer-driven forecast has been wildly wrong at times.
It is notable that, for the last three consecutive quarters, a period marked by high volatility, the GDPNow algorithm has been much more accurate in predicting growth than the forecasts by humans.
The Fed’s GDPNow forecast is updated two or three hours after the government releases economic data throughout every quarter. As the end of a quarter nears, GDPNow’s forecast should come closer to the actual growth rate announced by the government four weeks after the end of every quarter, and then it is revised again eight weeks after the end of the quarter. The actual final GDP growth rate is revised a third time 12 weeks after the end of every quarter.
The Federal Reserve Bank makes it clear that GDPNow is “not an official forecast of the Atlanta Fed.” It’s a running estimate of real GDP growth. No subjective adjustments are made to GDPNow. GDPNow forecasts are based solely on the mathematical results of the algorithm.
The last time we pointed out that the human forecasters were much more negative than the GDPNow algorithm about prospects for growth was three months ago. Back then, the GDPNow algorithm was predicting a spectacular +4.3% growth rate for the fourth quarter of 2022, while the leading economists in the Blue Chip consensus of economists expected a fractional growth rate of three-tenths of 1%.
The actual growth rate came in on January 26 at +2.9%, much closer to the GDPNow forecast.
Although the algorithm’s track record is mixed, it was more reliable than the human experts in the second quarter of 2022 and the third quarter as well as in the fourth quarter of 2022. These nine months were beset by anomalies, including supply chain disruption, declining demand for inventory, the highest inflation rate in over 40 years, and an aggressive succession of eight Federal Reserve rate hikes along with a war in Ukraine, which has made energy prices volatile.
We’re not saying that the GDPNow forecast is a breakthrough in predicting the economy, but the algorithm has been more accurate at predicting that rate of growth in quarterly gross domestic product during this unusual period of high volatility.
The S&P 500 stock index closed Friday at 4,090.46 up by a meager +0.22% from Thursday, and down -1.11% from a week ago. The index is up +82.82% from the March 23, 2020, Covid bear-market low, and -14.72% lower than its January 3, 2022, all-time high.
Stocks are a key growth engine in a diversified portfolio.
The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. It is a market-value weighted index with each stock's weight proportionate to its market value. Index returns do not include fees or expenses. Investing involves risk, including the loss of principal, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate so that an investor's shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance quoted.
Nothing contained herein is to be considered a solicitation, research material, an investment recommendation, or advice of any kind, and it is subject to change without notice. Any investments or strategies referenced herein do not take into account the investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any specific person. Product suitability must be independently determined for each individual investor. Tax advice always depends on your particular personal situation and preferences. You should consult the appropriate financial professional regarding your specific circumstances. The material represents an assessment of financial, economic and tax law at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events or a guarantee of future results. Forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties. Actual results, performance, or achievements may differ materially from those expressed or implied. Information is based on data gathered from what we believe are reliable sources. It is not guaranteed as to accuracy, does not purport to be complete, and is not intended to be used as a primary basis for investment decisions. This article was written by a professional financial journalist for Advisor Products and is not intended as legal or investment advice.
- S&P 500 Index Lost 2.4% In 3Q2023; Latest Inflation And Economic News
- Where The Boom No One Expected Gets Its Legs
- Latest On Inflation, Consumer & Business-Owner Optimism
- Slower Growth But Economic Outlook Remains Bright
- Labor Market And Inflation Drove Stocks Higher
- Costlier Homes Expected To Appreciate 4% Annually For The Next Five Years
- Leading Economic Index Falls For 16th Straight Month
- Tax-Sensitive Investment Planning In 2023
- A Healthy Recipe For Growth Is Simmering
- Good News About The U.S. Economy
- The New Bull Market Has Broadened
- An Economy Goldilocks Would Definitely Live With
- Monthly Pace Of New-Job Creation Slowed In June, Which Is Good News
- Standard & Poor's 500 Gained 9.9% In Q2 2023
- This Week’s News For Investors
- This Week’s News For Investors Is Very Good
- Why The New Bull Market Theory Was In The News This Past Week
- Strong Jobs Report Caps A Week For The Record Books
- Why Stocks Rose Friday Despite A Rise In Inflation In April
- Weekly Investor Update
- The Confluence Of Bad News For Recent Retirees And Those About To Retire
- Good And Bad News This Week For Investors
- Getting There: The Economic Balancing Act Progressed In March
- Stocks Gained Friday But Closed Fractionally Lower For The Week