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Press Release

Cleveland Fed researcher finds real-time reliability of monthly indicators has changed over time, cautions policymakers to assess revisions

Economic policymakers carefully assess all recent economic data for clues about the current state of the economy and the direction it may be headed, even as a unique feature of economic data is that they are subject to revisions. In this Economic Commentary, Cleveland Fed researcher Mark Bognanni looks at the extent to which the real–time reliability of six monthly macroeconomic indicators important to policymakers has remained stable over time by studying the time-series properties of their short-term and long-term revisions.

“The model estimates imply that both short–term and long–term revisions exhibit systematic deviations from zero that policymakers could build into their real-time assessments,” says Bognanni. “I also find some indicators' revision series have seen substantial variation over time in the size of the typical revision, which suggests that some series have become less useful real–time indicators than they once were.”

When examining the long–term revisions, Bognanni finds that substantial revisions tend to occur indefinitely after the initial data release, a result that suggests a certain degree of caution is in order when using even thrice–revised monthly data in policymaking.

Read more: Has the Real-Time Reliability of Monthly Indicators Changed over Time?

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that along with the Board of Governors in Washington DC comprise the Federal Reserve System. Part of the US central bank, the Cleveland Fed participates in the formulation of our nation’s monetary policy, supervises banking organizations, provides payment and other services to financial institutions and to the US Treasury, and performs many activities that support Federal Reserve operations System-wide. In addition, the Bank supports the well-being of communities across the Fourth Federal Reserve District through a wide array of research, outreach, and educational activities.

The Cleveland Fed, with branches in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, serves an area that comprises Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

Media contact

Doug Campbell,, 513.455.4479