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The Federal Open Market Committee wants its interest-rate decisions to be data-dependent. But until the past several years, much of the statistical information available—not just to the FOMC, but anyone—had come from reports that looked backward at conditions from the previous month or even quarter. New models developed by economists allow for forecasting of conditions in the current quarter as reports arrive on a day-to-day basis—as in now. Hence, “nowcasts.”
Recently released data on economic forecasts made by voting and nonvoting members of the FOMC suggest that there is more disagreement than the voting record indicates.