By Kevin Kliesen, Business Economist and Research Officer
The St. Louis Fed’s Economic News Index (ENI) predicts that real gross domestic product (GDP) will increase at a 2.6 percent annual rate in the first quarter, as seen in the figure below.
The current ENI estimate is moderately stronger than the 1.9 percent rate of real GDP growth that was registered during the fourth quarter of 2016, as reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
If real GDP advances at a 2.6 percent rate in the first quarter, then real GDP will have increased by 2.3 percent over the past four quarters.
The St. Louis Fed’s ENI uses economic content from key monthly economic data releases to forecast the growth of real GDP during that quarter.1 This simple-to-read index is updated every Friday and is available on the St. Louis Fed’s FRED (Federal Reserve Economic Data) database.
1 See Grover, Sean P.; Kliesen, Kevin L.; and McCracken, Michael W. “A Macroeconomic News Index for Constructing Nowcasts of U.S. Real Gross Domestic Product Growth,” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review, Fourth Quarter 2016, Vol. 98, Issue 4, pp. 277-96. The ENI will not produce forecasts for the major components of GDP, such as real nonresidential fixed investment.