On January 20th FRED’s newest data gizmo, FREDcast, is coming out of beta. FREDcast is an interactive forecasting game that allows users to enter forecasts for four different economic variables, track their forecast’s accuracy on the scoreboards, and compete with friends and other users in leagues. The game is designed for all levels of users, from high school students to professional forecasters. Just log-in to FREDcast using your FRED account and walk through the prompts to enter your forecasts for each variable. FREDcast forecasts are zero horizon, meaning users forecast economic data for the month (or quarter) in which they are in. For example, from January 1st to January 20th, users submit forecasts for the January unemployment rate, the January consumer price index (CPI), the January payroll employment, and quarter one real gross domestic product (GDP). Forecasts are due by the 20th of each month, and scores are released as the economic data come out. View exact release dates on FRED’s economic calendar.
The four FREDcast series are available in FRED. Below is a graph of each series in the appropriate units for FREDcast forecasts. All series in FREDcast are seasonally adjusted. From top to bottom: Real gross domestic product (GDP) is the only quarterly series, and the units are the percent change from the preceding period at a seasonally adjusted annual rate. Next is the unemployment rate, which is forecast as a monthly rate. Next are the consumer price index (CPI) and payroll employment. The inflation series used in FREDcast is the percent change in the CPI from one year ago, while payroll employment is the level change from the prior month measured in persons.
How these graphs were created: GDP: Search for real gross domestic product, and graph the series with the units “Percent Change from Preceding Period, Quarterly, Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate.” Set the start date to 2006-07-01, and follow this path: Edit Graph > Format > Graph Type > Bar. Unemployment Rate: Search for unemployment rate, and graph the seasonally adjusted civilian unemployment rate. Set the start date to 2006-12-01. CPI: Search for consumer price index, and graph the series “Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: All Items” with monthly, seasonally adjusted units. Set the start date to 2006-11-01, and follow this path: Edit Graph > Units > Percent Change from Year Ago. Payroll Employment: Search for payroll employment, and graph the series “All Employees: Total Nonfarm Payrolls” in seasonally adjusted units. Set the start date to 2006-12-01, and follow this path: Edit Graph > Units > Change, Thousands of Persons. Last, multiply the series by 1000 to get it in units of persons by entering a*1000 in the formula box and clicking “Apply.”
Suggested by Michael Owyang and Hannah Shell.