Forecasting the Advance Estimate for Q1 GDP: An Update

Here is an update on my preview posted earlier this week for tomorrow's advance estimate for Q1 GDP. I had created a table showing the forecasts from the WSJ survey of 56 economists.

Here now is the Federal Reserve range of estimates released today for 2011-2013 annual GDP. They don't provide the individual estimates, so we can't calculate the mean, but the medians easily calculated. What's more interesting is the downward change from the Fed's January range of estimates.

As a reminder, the Briefing.com consensus estimate is for 1.7%. But what's particularly striking is Briefing.com's own estimate, which, as I type this, is 0.5%. That's right, 0.5%. Actually, that's an increase from the 0.1% posted two days ago. I didn't mention it in my original preview, since I assumed it was a typo on their website. In fact, I sent an email to Briefing.com pointing out the presumed mistake. I received no reply, but today the number was bumped to 0.5%.

Here is a closer look at quarterly GDP since its inception in 1947. Note that the Briefing.com consensus of 1.7 is the current level of the 10-year GDP moving average, which is approximately half the GDP average. The median of the WSJ survey forecasts ia around the middle of the range between the 10-year MA and the long-term GDP average.

We'll review these forecasts after the Thursday number is published.