Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Noteworthy article on Bloomberg:

Inside the U.S. Federal Reserve headquarters, a small team is testing a forecasting program that does the work of hundreds of economists. Never before has the Fed been able to crunch in real time such a large mountain of data -- as many as 150 indicators -- to divine where the economy is headed.

Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is pushing the ``factor model'' program -- so named because it reduces everything from home sales to mining capacity into a few weighted averages for making predictions. The Fed could use the help: Its gross domestic product forecasts, which influence its interest rate decisions, have missed the mark by an average of 1 percentage point since 2000....