Unemployment forecasts

Bell, David N.F. and Emmett, Gary and Fraser, Neil and Hamilton, Douglas and Jowett, Anne and McGilvray, James W. and Kirwan, Frank X. and Moar, Lyle and Orton, Ian and Simpson, David R. F. and Wingfield, A. A. (1980) Unemployment forecasts. Quarterly Economic Commentary, 5 (4). pp. 36-38. ISSN 0306-7866

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One of the main features of this commentary since its inception in July 1975 has been its regular unemployment forecasts. Each issue has incorporated a prediction of Scottish unemployment six months ahead. Since these forecasts have been produced for some time, it is now reasonable to assess their performance. Specifically, in this note, two questions will be addressed: (1) firstly, how accurate were the forecasts in terms of conformity to the actual outturn? (2) secondly, is there any evidence of systematic bias in the forecasts? : that is, is there a tendency for the predictions to take too optimistic or too pessimistic a view of the future course of unemployment?