January 04, 2013 at 11:14 AM EST
Recession Watch 2013: Piger Probability Series
Last year I reported on a relatively new recession probability indicator (… the “markov switching” series recently introduced to the Fed FRED/Blytic) that was giving a pretty clear, though preliminary, indication of probable recession. While I noted that the series was highly revised, I pointed out that even taking into account the revisions, the series was giving a recession signal since using just the "maximum" reported values (values that had been all been revised lower) the reporting 20% probability was very unusual and typically associated to oncoming trouble. In the latest release, the October data (... there is a reporting lag) indicates that the probability of recession has risen to 7.34% while the standout August value (that initially peaked interest in this series) has now been revised to 4.46%. It's important to note though that the point of my prior post was to highlight just the "maximum" reported values and while the latest release revises down August's 19.6% and reports an additional low probability for the latest month, it makes no difference... the fact remains that this series has NOT given such a significant over estimate of recession without there being a probable recession ahead. Now clearly, there could always be a first time... this is just estimated data... but the prior 19.6% reported figure clearly argues for following this series very closely in the coming months.
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