Monday, March 25, 2013

Quick Peeks at IMF and NBER Data on US Business Cycle

I've added one more link to my Analytical Tools widget (scroll down my blog, on the right side) to illustrate a point.  The IMF Data and Statistics page has tons of stuff useful to serious financial analysts and economists. I used it find a time series data on GDP growth for the United States because I wanted to compare the IMF's numbers to the stats prepared by NBER on the business cycle.

The IMF's percent changes for US GDP from 1995 through 2010 do not show a recession after 2000, but merely a slowing in growth.  Refer to the NBER's confirmation that a recession began in the U.S. in March 2001 and ended in November 2001.  The IMF's annualized data broadly comport with the NBER's series on the U.S. business cycle.  The lesson for country-specific analysis is that analysts looking for nuances and turning points need data from more than one source.  Those sources must account for national-level activity over shorter periods that global organizations like the IMF sometimes aggregate into larger data sets.