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Philadelphia Fed Commemorates 50th Anniversary of Survey of Professional Forecasters
First conducted in 1968, the Survey of Professional Forecasters is the oldest quarterly survey of macroeconomic forecasts in the United States.
Philadelphia — The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia today celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF), which was first conducted in 1968 by the American Statistical Association and the National Bureau of Economic Research. The Philadelphia Fed took over the survey in the second quarter of 1990 and has been conducting it each quarter since that time, making the SPF the oldest quarterly survey of macroeconomic forecasts in the United States.
Produced within the economic research department of the Philadelphia Fed, the SPF is widely followed by macroeconomists, business analysts, and policymakers across the world because it provides a timely consensus outlook for the macroeconomy.
“The Philadelphia Fed is proud to celebrate this important milestone of the SPF,” said Michael Dotsey, executive vice president and director of research. “The history of the survey is significant because these forecasts are instrumental in testing macroeconomic theories, evaluating the forecast accuracy of economists who serve on the panel, and studying how professional forecasters adjust their projections over time.”
The forecasters who participate in this survey work in myriad fields — from finance and economics to banking and analytics. One of the key defining characteristics of the survey is its anonymity. The forecasts are published without revealing the respondents’ affiliation to protect the accuracy of their projections and the credibility of the survey’s results.
Currently, the survey features projections for more than 23 main macroeconomic variables, providing broad coverage of the U.S. economy — real gross domestic product and its components, unemployment and employment, five alternative measures of inflation, interest rates, corporate profits, and various business indicators, such as industrial production and housing starts.
As the U.S. economy has evolved, some business variables that lost their impact may have been dropped from the survey, but the core features of the SPF have remained largely the same over the past 50 years.
The latest survey is available here.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia helps formulate and implement monetary policy, supervises banks and bank savings and loan holding companies, and provides financial services to depository institutions and the federal government. It is one of the 12 regional Reserve Banks that, together with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., make up the Federal Reserve System. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia serves eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware.