CBO’s Economic Forecasting Record: 2017 Update

Forecast Minus Actual Growth of Inflation-Adjusted Output: Two-Year Forecasts

CBO’s economic forecasts have been comparable in quality to those of the Administration and the Blue Chip consensus. Large errors in CBO’s forecasts tend to reflect challenges faced by all forecasters.

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Summary Measures of the Quality of Forecasts of Selected Economic Variables,
by Forecast Horizon and Forecaster


Economic Variables

Forecast Horizons



The root mean square error (RMSE) is a measure of forecasting accuracy. It will always be a positive value; the larger the value, the less accurate the forecasts.

Forecast errors are projected values minus actual values; the mean error is the average of the forecast errors. Mean error values greater than zero indicate that the forecaster overestimated the actual values, on average; negative values indicate that the forecaster underestimated the actual values, on average.

Date ranges refer to the years in which the forecasts were made.

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