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Economic Brief

June 23, 2021

Richmond Fed Research Looks at Macroeconomic Forecasting During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic posed substantial challenges for macroeconomic forecasting. In the absence of a recent directly comparable episode, forecasters modified their models or sought additional information in data.

In the Richmond Fed’s latest Economic Brief, economist Paul Ho surveyed these forecasting approaches, with his analysis highlighting the importance of transparency and flexibility of assumptions. He noted that, with the benefit of data over the course of the pandemic, it’s possible to see how different assumptions led to forecast errors that might have been predictable at the time of the forecast.

The Richmond Fed’s Economic Brief series provides essays on economic issues and trends. Sign up to receive an email notification when a new essay is posted.


As part of our nation’s central bank, the Richmond Fed is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks working together with the Board of Governors to support a healthy economy and deliver on our mission to foster economic stability and strength. We connect with community and business leaders across the Fifth Federal Reserve District — including the Carolinas, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and most of West Virginia — to monitor economic conditions, address issues facing our communities, and share this information with monetary and financial policymakers. We also work with banks to ensure they are operating safely and soundly, supply financial institutions with currency that’s fit for distribution, and provide a safe and efficient way to transfer funds through our nation’s payments system.

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