On Optimistic Forecasting

I told BR last week that it was highly likely we’d be seeing the graphic highlighting Team Obama’s botched unemployment rate forecast after the NFP was released on Friday.  After all, it’s been a monthly staple for Obama critics.  Sure enough, via John Mauldin’s post right here at TBP, we get the very graphic in question.  Thanks, John, for sparing me the trouble of having to spend any time searching for it.

Fair enough, sez I.  Team Obama was far too optimistic about how the stimulus would impact employment.  They were also deeply mistaken about the severity of the recession (as were most dismal scientists and others who toil in financial services).

Of course, it’s not as though the Bush administration — in very late 2007 — made any forecasts that were dreadfully, woefully off the mark.  Like calling for unemployment not to rise above 4.9 percent through 2013.  Like real GDP growing about 3 percent for years.  Like T-Bill rates around 4 percent.  Like NFP coming in 100+ monthly year-in, year-out.  Or did they?

So, yeah, Obama and his folks blew the magnitude of the recession.  They were certainly not alone in that regard.  What was Team Bush’s excuse?

UPDATING: I get a sense from some commenters (KidDynamite, Ruschem) of a belief that it should somehow be easier to forecast the trajectory of a recovery from a trough (Team Obama’s job) than a decline from a peak (Team Bush’s).  I don’t know why that should be the case.

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