Disaster Scams

Bad guys will take advantage of natural disasters, such as the recent earthquakes in Japan and Ecuador, to send out emails that allegedly have links to sites where you can donate to help the victims. In reality this may be a scam, and you may be donating to the bank accounts of these scammers. Not only that, following these links may also download malicious content to your computer. US-CERT has a number of steps you can take to stay safe – with possibly the number one step being not to follow a link that is an unsolicited email.

GDP Forecasts – Graph of the Week 4/6/16

The NABE Outlook is a quarterly consensus forecast conducted by the National Association for Business Economics. One of the key variables that is included in the forecast is the GDP growth forecast. So far, three of the NABE Outlook surveys have asked for forecasts of 2016 GDP growth – the forecasts in October and December of 2015, and the March 2016 forecast. Each of these forecasts has gotten slightly more pessimistic, as you can see from the chart below.

GDP Change
Quarterly Forecasts of GDP Change for 2016 and 2017

The blue columns are the forecasts for 2016. The yellow column is the actual 2015 growth rate of GDP. (At least until it is revised by the BEA.) Back in October, the forecast for this year was for 2.7% growth. In December, the consensus was just slightly lower, to 2.6%,  By March that forecast has dropped down to 2.2% for this year.  However, the declining growth rate is not a precursor to a further decline, for in March the forecast for 2017 growth was 2.4% (the green bar). In fact, according to the forecast, the business cycle is not expected to peak until 2018 or later.

The NABE Outlook presents the consensus of macroeconomic forecasts from a panel of 48 professional forecasters. The survey, covering the outlook for 2016 and 2017, was conducted February 24—March 10, 2016. The NABE Outlook Survey originated in 1965 and is one of three surveys conducted by NABE; the others are the NABE Business Conditions Survey and the NABE Economic Policy Survey. See nabe.com for more information.