Cross-posted at River Twice Research.
Each month, the Federal Reserve releases its latest minutes of its last meeting along with its projections of economic activity (www.federalreserve.gov). The minutes just released indicate that its prior forecasts have been tweaked a bit, with update projections for unemployment over the next two years, GDP growth, and inflation. As new data become available, the hundreds of economists at the Fed revise and recalculate numbers, which means that any forecast rarely lasts more than a few months.
And yet, the Fed’s forecasts – along with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Office of Management and Budget, the Congressional Budget Office and various others – are used to frame every single meaningful discussion about the economy. They become the fodder for media reports, for budgetary decisions made by companies, and for individuals who digest the sound-bites – “Fed predicts unemployment will level off at 9% next year” – that shapes their sentiment. Investors also turn to these signposts as markers to navigate a complex world.