Working Paper Revision

FRED-SD: A Real-Time Database for State-Level Data with Forecasting Applications

Abstract: We construct a real-time dataset (FRED-SD) with vintage data for the U.S. states that can be used to forecast both state-level and national-level variables. Our dataset includes approximately 28 variables per state, including labor market, production, and housing variables. We conduct two sets of real-time forecasting exercises. The first forecasts state-level labor-market variables using five different models and different levels of industrially-disaggregated data. The second forecasts a national-level variable exploiting the cross-section of state data. The state-forecasting experiments suggest that large models with industrially-disaggregated data tend to have higher predictive ability for industrially-diversified states. For national-level data, we find that forecasting and aggregating state-level data can outperform a random walk but not an autoregression. We compare these real-time data experiments with forecasting experiments using final-vintage data and find very different results. Because these final-vintage results are obtained with revised data that would not have been available at the time the forecasts would have been made, we conclude that the use of real-time data is essential for drawing proper conclusions about state-level forecasting models.

Keywords: factor models; Bayesian VARs; space-time autoregression;

JEL Classification: C33; R11;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Part of Series: Working Papers

Publication Date: 2021-08-01

Number: 2020-031

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