This according to Nobel Laureate in Economics, Robert Samuelson, citing a study from the Federal Reserve.
The basic conclusion:
You knew it all along: Economists can’t forecast the economy worth a hoot. And now we have a scholarly study that confirms it. Better yet, the corroboration comes from an impeccable source: the Federal Reserve.
The study compared predictions of important economic indicators — unemployment, inflation, interest rates, gross domestic product — with the actual outcomes. There were widespread errors. The study concluded that “considerable uncertainty surrounds all macroeconomic projections.”
“Suppose . . . the unemployment rate was projected to remain near 5 percent over the next few years, accompanied by 2 percent inflation. Given the size of past errors, we should not be surprised to see the unemployment rate climb to 7 percent or fall to 3 percent. . . . Similarly, it would not be at all surprising to see inflation as high as 3 percent or as low as 1 percent.”
These are huge margins of error. Clearly, much economic forecasting is guesswork. Worse, the gap between prediction and reality may be widening. The study — done by David Reifschneider of the Federal Reserve and Peter Tulip of the Reserve Bank of Australia — found that forecasting mistakes had worsened since the 2008-09 financial crisis.
Normally, when economic experts are acting humble they invoke the concept of "Black swans", etc.
But, this line of argument basically injects a serious amount of caution, even if the relevant factors are known.
Bruce's predictions about real estate I have tended to find reliable because that's a very specific, limited part of the economy and has considerably fewer moving parts than the overall economy.
But his most recent prediction about an economic recession in 2 years----which is about our economy as a whole---I'm not quite so sure about that. Although his intentions are honorable and his statistics quite interesting. Which is not to say we aren't facing this prospect---of course, this will eventually be true since we can't have an upward economy forever. But the exact timing of the downturn might be very hard to predict.