US Economy: Past, Present & Future

Here’s an interesting interactive graphic that does a couple of things to show how the different states have fared with their economies.

The upper graph shows how much each State has recovered, or not, since Dec 2007 when the recession started (official dates).

If you click on a State in the upper graph, it will show that State compared to the US in the bottom graph (since the late 70’s). You can compare multiple States by holding the Ctrl key and click on States.

The above is historical.

Now, prediction addiction kicks in. Here’s a link to 3 and 6 month forecasts for the economy of each State. This is all well and good, until the data changes and hence the forecast gets changed.

How to explain forecasting? Data says one thing one day. And then the data changes so the forecast changes the next day. Investors feel this right now as uncertainty. Just a while ago the markets were trending up so things were rosy (think Oct 2011 to March 2012). Before that markets were trending down (think July 2011 to September 2011). Before that markets were trending up (think September 2010 to June 2011).

Moral of the story: The same changing trends patterns holds true for anything cyclical you, or anyone, tries to predict. Trends go one way, and then change another way … and have you noticed, predictions change with the trends. So where’s the real prediction in that? It’s easy to say it will keep going one way until it changes to another. Have you noticed, it is much harder to predict WHEN the change in trend occurs? Nobody consistently gets that correct. So prudence and structure so most events are already factored into the plan is best so predictions aren’t necessary.

See also Cracks in the crystal ball.


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