MassBenchmarks Journal

New data lead to change in how MassBenchmarks estimates state growth

New data lead to change in how MassBenchmarks estimates state growth. More timely federal data indicate state growth has been more volatile than we have previously reported.

Since 1997, the MassBenchmarks Current Economic Index (CEI) has been providing estimates of real gross state product (GSP) growth, the most comprehensive coincident indicator of economic growth in the Commonwealth. The CEI is compiled and analyzed quarterly by Northeastern University Professor Alan Clayton-Matthews, MassBenchmarks Senior Contributing Editor. Since 2002, MassBenchmarks has released an estimate of GSP each quarter concurrently with the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis' (BEA) estimate of national growth (growth in U.S. real gross domestic product or GDP). This approach was adopted to provide a very timely estimate of the growth trajectory of the state economy, as well as to create a useful comparison of regional and national growth trends and economic performance in "real time."

Recently, the BEA began releasing its estimates of GSP with a shorter lag time. This development improves our understanding of the performance of the state economy. Furthermore, changes in the BEA's GSP release provide us with detailed data that make possible a recalibration of the methodology for both the MassBenchmarks CEI and the Leading Economic Index.

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