Unexpectedly Intriguing!
May 2, 2013

As expected, the first estimate of GDP for the first quarter of 2013 came in above the midpoint of our target forecast range, with the Bureau of Economic Analysis reporting that the aggregage national income of the United States was $13,750.1 billion in terms of constant 2005 U.S. dollars.

The midpoint of our official target range for GDP in 2013-Q1 was $13,724.5 billion in terms of constant 2005 U.S. dollars, about 0.19% below the BEA's initial estimate.

So where might we reasonably project GDP for the current quarter (2013-Q2) to be when it is first reported three months from now?

The chart below shows what our inertia-based "modified limo" forecasting technique anticipates it will be:

Real GDP vs Climbing Limo and Modified Limo Forecasts, Ending 2013-Q1

Using the initial estimate for real GDP in 2013Q1, we can provide the following preliminary odds for 2013Q2 - all GDP figures are given in terms of constant 2005 U.S. dollars:

  • There is a 50% probability that U.S. GDP will be greater than $13,799.3 billion. There is likewise a 50% probability that GDP will be less than $13,799.3 billion.
  • There is a 68.2% probability that it will be somewhere between $13,581.8 billion and $13,867.2 billion.
  • There is a 95.0% probability that it will be somewhere between $13,439.1 billion and $14,009.9 billion.
  • There is a 99.8% probability that it will be somewhere between $13,296.4 billion and $14,152.5 billion.

The BEA will revise GDP for 2013-Q1 twice more before setting it aside and revisiting it in a bigger scale revision. Our official estimate for GDP in 2013-Q2 will be based on its third estimate, which will be released near the end of June 2013.

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