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Forecasting GDP Growth with NIPA Aggregates

Beyond GDP, which is measured using expenditure data, the U.S. national income and product accounts (NIPAs) provide an income-based measure of the economy (gross domestic income, or GDI), a measure that averages GDP and GDI, and various aggregates that include combinations of GDP components. This paper compiles real-time data on a variety of NIPA aggregates and uses these in simple time-series models to construct out-of-sample forecasts for GDP growth. Over short forecast horizons, NIPA aggregates—particularly consumption and GDP less inventories and trade—together with these simple time-series models have historically generated more accurate forecasts than a canonical AR(2) benchmark. This has been especially true during recessions, although we document modest gains during expansions as well.

JEL Codes: C53, C32, E01.
Keywords: forecasting, GDP, GDI, real-time data, consumption.

Suggested citation: Garciga, Christian, and Edward S. Knotek II, 2017. “Forecasting GDP Growth with NIPA Aggregates,” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Working Paper no. 17-08.

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