Author: stephanie

A more detailed introduction…

Hi!

Welcome to Econoutlook. At Econoutlook, you’ll find the economic forecast for places all over the world, for wherever you live, work, or do business. In one place, we bring publicly-available forecasts made by government and international organizations to you.

Right now, we are starting small: we simply show the forecast for growth of the U.S. economy. Eventually, we’ll show forecasts for all U.S. states, and later countries all around the world. And look for forecasts for things that matter to you: jobs, prices, interest rates, and so forth.

A funny business

If there’s one fact in this world, it is this: economic forecasters aren’t particularly good at their job. They make weather forecasters look good, much to their appreciation. The economy, at the end of the day, is simply the sum of what each individual person is doing in their economic lives: how they spend their money, how they invest, where they work, how they react to economic and technological changes, what policy decisions they make, and so forth. Trying to guess what millions of people are doing as a whole is an impossible task (assuming we aren’t all actually robots), especially when those people are human beings. 

There’s also another funny thing about economic forecasting: if you actually believe in what an economic forecast says, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you were told the economy is going to grow and you believe it, you are likely to spend and invest. That helps contribute to economic growth. But if you were told that a recession was on the horizon, you’d likely cut spending and withhold investing, which slows the wheels of the economy. Knowing this, the government has no incentive to forecast a recession… because then it could unwittingly induce one. 

So why do we care about sharing economic forecasts at Econoutlook, if those forecasts are not accurate? Or if we know that economic forecasts could affect how people collectively behave, which gets ethically murky if we know we are passing on bad information? 

Well, we are motivated by a few other reasons. Stay tuned to our next blog post to hear our ridiculous ambition.