Approximating and forecasting macroeconomic signals in real-time

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2 Citations (Scopus)


We incorporate factors extracted from a large panel of macroeconomic time series in the predictions of two signals related to real economic activity: business cycle fluctuations and the medium- to long-run component of output growth. The latter is simply output growth short of fluctuations with a period below one year. For forecasting purposes, we show that targeting this object rather than the original (noisy) time series can result in gains in forecast accuracy. With conventional projections, high-frequency fluctuations are always fitted, despite being (mostly) unpredictable or idiosyncratic. We illustrate the methodology and provide forecast comparisons for the U.S. and Portugal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-492
JournalInternational Journal of Forecasting
Issue number3 - July 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Dynamic factor model
  • Band-pass filter
  • Business cycle fluctuations


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