Nowcasting US GDP: The Role of ISM Business Surveys
33 Pages Posted: 30 May 2012
Date Written: November 2011
We study the role of the well-known monthly diffusion indices produced by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) in nowcasting current quarter U.S. GDP growth. In contrast to the existing literature on ISM surveys, we investigate their marginal impact on these nowcasts when large unbalanced (jagged edge) macroeconomic data sets are used in real time to generate them. We find evidence that these ISM indices are helpful in improving the nowcasts when new ISM information becomes available in the beginning of the month, ahead of other monthly indicators. Furthermore, and while the existing literature has focused almost exclusively on manufacturing information, here we establish the increasingly significant role of the recently created non-manufacturing ISM diffusion indices in such nowcasting contexts.
Keywords: Forecasting, ISM, PMI, NMI, factor models, Kalman filter, Real time data
JEL Classification: C33, C53
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation