Here is an expert GDP forecast

Can you see the difference?

Yesterday, I made a simple forecast for real GDP that assumed a recovery by the end of 2021Q4. Then, today, I discovered that CNBC does projection aggregations for GDP from a bunch of smart forecasters. So, I decided to compare the expert aggregation to my simple forecast:

Hmm.

I’m definitely not an expert at macroeconomic forecasting and basically made my forecast in five minutes so I guess I expected something more here? That’s not really a humble brag like, “oh look at how good I am at forecasting aren’t I super cool” but instead a surprise that expertise looks fairly routine.

This isn’t to say forecasting is useless or easy to do. Pretty much every forecaster is wrong all the time. It’s a tough job and the future is just so uncertain. But let’s also not mistake collective expert wisdom about the future as anything we can rely on with certainty.

In times of crisis, it can make sense to throw away common assumptions about how things are supposed to go. Because, sometimes, the difference between a simple guess and the experts isn’t too far off.