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Irina Belousova

11 May 2023
Euro area labour market variables are published with a considerable lag, longer than in the case of real GDP. We develop a suite of models to provide a more timely estimate (nowcast) of euro area quarterly employment growth based on a broad range of monthly indicators. The suite includes a batch of different dynamic factor model and bridge equation specifications. We evaluate it in real time over 2013-2022 and find that (i) monthly indicators provide useful information for a timely assessment of employment developments with unemployment rates and sentiment indicators containing most of the relevant information, (ii) the performance of small-scale models is comparable to those based on a larger information set, (iii) the suite performs favourably compared to the Eurosystem/ECB staff macroeconomic projections,(iv) forecasting performance deteriorates temporarily at the initial stage of the COVID-19 pandemic period, but the models outperform the benchmarks again thereafter.
JEL Code
C53 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Forecasting and Prediction Methods, Simulation Methods
E24 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Employment, Unemployment, Wages, Intergenerational Income Distribution, Aggregate Human Capital
E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles
E37 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications