Long Time Lags Are Experienced Before Turning Points in the Economy Are Documented

Official documentation of turning points in the economy is the responsibility of the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Recent announcement dates:

The March 2001 peak was announced November 26, 2001. The March 1991 trough was announced December 22, 1992. The July 1990 peak was announced April 25, 1991. The November 1982 trough was announced July 8, 1983. The July 1981 peak was announced January 6, 1982. The July 1980 trough was announced July 8, 1981. The January 1980 peak was announced June 3, 1980.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, September 2001 (

The National Bureau of Economic Research Web Site Is a Treasure Trove of Forecast Information

Industry data include the Manufacturing Industry Productivity Database, patent data, imports and exports by Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) category, and various IRS information.

Resources for Economists on the Internet (RFE) is another extremely valuable Web site maintained by the American Economic Association and professor Bill Goffe of the Department of Economics at the State University of New York (SUNY), Oswego campus (see Figure 6.6). The table of contents for RFE lists 1,265 resources in 74 sections and subsections of interest to academic and practicing economists, and those interested in economics. Almost all resources are also described in simple-to-understand language. RFE is a particularly good place to look for a broad array of business and economic forecasting resources on the Web. For example, under economic forecasting and consulting resources the reader will find the Conference Board's Leading Economic Indicators and various other nongovernmental data; economic commentary from Bank of America Economics and Financial Reports; macro, regional, and electrical forecasts from Foster Associates; microeconomic analysis from Glassman-Oliver Economic Consultants, Inc.; global financial market and foreign exchange analysis from Wells Fargo Economic Reports; and so on.

Information about economic trends is also found in leading business publications, like The Wall Street Journal and Barron's. As shown in Figure 6.7, Barron's survey of economic indicators

Resources for Economists on the Internet Is a Valuable Forecasting Resource

depicts the rate of change in the overall level of economic activity as indicated by GDP, durable and nondurable manufacturing, factory utilization, and other statistics. Also provided are specific data on the level of production in a wide range of basic industries such as autos, electric power, paper, petroleum, and steel. Data published weekly in Barron's include not only the level of production (what is made), but also distribution (what is sold), inventories (what is on hand), new orders received, unfilled orders, purchasing power, employment, and construction activity. Forbes magazine publishes its own biweekly index of economic activity using government data on consumer prices, manufacturer's new orders and inventories, industrial production, new housing starts, personal income, new unemployment claims, retail sales, and consumer installment credit. To measure these eight elements of the Forbes Index, 10 series of U.S. government data are monitored over a 14-month period.

Fortune and Business Week magazines also offer regular coverage of data on current and projected levels of economic activity. The quarterly Fortune Forecast of economic activity is based on a proprietary econometric model developed by the company's own staff economists. The forecast data and analysis published in these leading business periodicals provide managers with a useful starting point in the development of their own expectations.

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