January 17, 2013
CBO's Economic Forecasting Record: 2013 Update
"For more than three decades, CBO has prepared economic forecasts that underlie the agency’s projections for the federal budget and cost estimates for proposed federal legislation. In particular, forecasts of output, income, inflation, and interest rates play a significant role in the agency’s budgetary analysis; for example, projections of wages and salaries are used to forecast individual income tax receipts. CBO regularly evaluates the quality of its economic forecasts by comparing them with the economy’s actual performance and with forecasts by the Administration and the Blue Chip consensus—an average of about 50 private-sector forecasts. Such comparisons indicate the extent to which uncertainty and imperfect information may have caused CBO to “miss” patterns or turning points in the economy. They also identify areas where CBO has tended to make larger errors or less accurate forecasts than other analysts."