The Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF) was created 50 years ago and provides a long track record of macroeconomic forecasts. Over many decades, the survey has not only provided timely information for policymakers and other economic analysts but also helped answer numerous research questions. This article describes the survey’s structure, provides a short history of the survey, highlights some of the major ways in which the survey has been used by researchers, and discusses the relationship between the survey and the Real-Time Data Set for Macroeconomists (RTDSM).

This article appeared in the Fourth Quarter 2019 edition of Economic Insights. Download and read the full issue.