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New York FED Staff Nowcasts and Reality: What Can We Learn about the Future, the Present, and the Past?

Boriss Siliverstovs

Econometrics, 2021, vol. 9, issue 1, 1-25

Abstract: We assess the forecasting performance of the nowcasting model developed at the New York FED. We show that the observation regarding a striking difference in the model’s predictive ability across business cycle phases made earlier in the literature also applies here. During expansions, the nowcasting model forecasts at best are at least as good as the historical mean model, whereas during the recessionary periods, there are very substantial gains corresponding in the reduction in MSFE of about 90% relative to the benchmark model. We show how the asymmetry in the relative forecasting performance can be verified by the use of such recursive measures of relative forecast accuracy as Cumulated Sum of Squared Forecast Error Difference (CSSFED) and Recursive Relative Mean Squared Forecast Error (based on Rearranged observations) (R 2 MSFE(+R)). Ignoring these asymmetries results in a biased judgement of the relative forecasting performance of the competing models over a sample as a whole, as well as during economic expansions, when the forecasting accuracy of a more sophisticated model relative to naive benchmark models tends to be overstated. Hence, care needs to be exercised when ranking several models by their forecasting performance without taking into consideration various states of the economy.

Keywords: US GDP; nowcasts; real-time data; COVID-19 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B23 C C00 C01 C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C8 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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