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Forecasters Now Classified by Industry

For immediate release
Contact: Katherine Q. Dibling, senior media representative, 215-574-4119 or Marilyn Wimp, media advisor, 215-574-4197

Philadelphia, Pa. - The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Research Department has categorized Survey of Professional Forecasters participants by their association with either a financial services provider or a nonfinancial services provider in order to get a better understanding of how industry affiliation influences projections for economic indicators.

“We hope our new industry variable will encourage more research in this area and lead to further understanding of the objectives and constraints of professional forecasters,” said John Chew, senior economic analyst with the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank.

The new information can also be used to look at how the forecasters’ projections may differ depending on industry affiliation.

Philadelphia Fed researchers compared the consensus forecasts of financial and nonfinancial industry participants for three key economic variables: consumer price index (CPI) inflation, unemployment, and real gross domestic product (GDP). Among the findings were that the forecasts of both industries called for a contraction around the recessions of 1990-91 and 2001. Only minor differences in the forecasts were found in periods outside of recessions.

The researchers used data beginning with the second quarter of 1990, when the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia conducted its first survey. The survey, started in 1968, was previously managed by the American Statistical Association and the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The second quarter Survey of Professional Forecasters will be released at 10 a.m., Tuesday, May 13, 2008. See the schedule of releases.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia helps formulate and implement monetary policy, supervises banks and bank holding companies, and provides financial services to depository institutions and the federal government. One of the 12 regional banks that, together with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., make up the Federal Reserve System, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank serves eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware.

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