Frequently Asked Questions

Fast answers to the what, how and who’s of ITR’s economic forecasting.

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We booked a keynote presenter last year for an economic conference who lost our audience with a lot of technical language. Is it too much to expect a talk to be interesting, understandable and entertaining?

It is not too much to expect at all because we know it can be done. We do it 275 times a year. Our priorities are to speak the language of business and offer a reliable peak into the future so leaders can know what is coming. We aren’t trying to impress anyone with jargon or irrelevant data. And humor is a means we employ to keep our audience engaged throughout our important keynotes, presentations, and seminars. So you can throw out the notion that economics is too dry to be entertaining. Book an ITR speaker and you’ll soon discover that economics can be relevant and engaging, and the results can be spectacular.

Speaker Page

Researching online, I’ve found a number of reputable economic trends forecasters. What makes ITR’s approach and analysis any different?

There are many reasons why so many business owners and industry leaders rely on ITR’s forecasts. Here are just seven:

  1. Accuracy — we have a 94.7% forecast accuracy rate since we started tracking this statistic in 1985.
  2. Our depth, breadth and years of experience in measuring and analyzing cyclical trends gives you an advantage.
  3. We are the originators of unique statistical tools for forecasting trends.
  4. ITR is completely objective, not beholden to any outside forces.
  5. Our only benchmark is getting the forecast right, whether it is for rise or decline.
  6. We work closely with decision makers to understand their needs and what economic factors matter to them most.
  7. The results make us different — we’ve called it right year after year for 60 years.

Forecasting page

You claim 94.7% accuracy in your economic forecasts. That’s an impressive number, but how can I trust that it will continue in this tough economy?

First, since many clients ask, let us tell you how we arrive at our 94.7% forecasting rate. We track how the forecasts have performed four quarters out from when we made the projection. If results are within the defined data trend parameters of the forecast range, then it is scored as 100% accurate. If the actual result falls outside of the forecast range after four quarters, then the percent deviation is subtracted from 100%. All results are totaled to arrive at an aggregate. Then we divide by the number of forecasts. The calculation gets a bit tricky depending on the nature and extent of data revisions, data being rebased, and whether or not the pre-revision rate-of-change trajectory was altered, but the 94.7% forecast accuracy rate holds up year after year.

And here’s why you can expect us to maintain this rating over time:

  • We are constantly evaluating what indicators and statistical inputs are working best.
  • We utilize our extensive knowledge of business cycles and approach every analysis knowing that no two cycles are ever exactly the same.
  • We put business cycle activity into the larger context of secular trends, giving us greater predictive accuracy.

Why ITR page

I receive the ITR Trends Report monthly and it’s been valuable, but my business is so reliant on short-term indicators, I’m looking for weekly, even daily updates. Can ITR help me?

Following daily or weekly data is an inherently difficult way to discern a trend and therefore hard to take advantage of with any reliability. We encourage you to keep an eye on the daily material but use monthly data to determine the trend by which you gauge the daily volatility — and which you ultimately use to take action. However, if you absolutely must use daily or weekly data, we can teach you some statistically relevant techniques that might help you in your overall decision-making strategies.

You may be the oldest independent economic research and consulting firm operating in the nation, but how does that make ITR a better forecaster, or more importantly, help me with my business?

At ITR, we have seen first hand and studied many different types of business cycles. Because of our deep institutional memory and extensive experience, we know not to assume that the next cycle is going to be some reasonable facsimile of the last cycle. We also know how to morph the indicators we watch and how to weight the statistical tools we use. The economy changes over time and after 60-plus years, we’ve seen every permutation of cyclical growth and contraction. Listening to and cataloging the needs of business leaders for over six decades has allowed us to become the preeminent economic trend forecaster in the country. What we do certainly can help you.

Why ITR page

I subscribed once to an online trends newsletter only to discover the forecasting firm had a parent company with a very definite political agenda. Who owns you?

No one owns ITR. We are independent and autonomous. We are answerable and have responsibility only to our clients.

Our sole obligation is to tell you the reality of what lies ahead (good or bad) so you can be prepared. We think that if we do this consistently, we ultimately increase your profits and help you grow your company, which in turn enables our economy to grow—that is fundamental to a prosperous society .

Why ITR page

I know you focus primarily on U.S. economic trends, but we have customers in countries around the world. Does ITR do any global forecasting?

ITR® has developed a comprehensive database to discern and analyze trends in all of the major economies of the world. Our Weighted Market Index is a good case in point. Today’s “market” is often defined in global terms and our clients need to know how they are performing relative to their market(s), and what the market trends are going to be around the globe.

Our clients increasingly need to know the global picture, and we are there for you with accurate analysis of critical trends from Hong Kong to Haifa, Lima to London.

Consulting Services

My industry is covered in ITR Trends Report, so I have a good idea of what’s coming for us. But how can I get a more detailed analysis of my company’s sales projections using your business cycle analysis?

We provide company-specific forecasts that take into consideration not only macroeconomic trend probabilities, but how your company relates to these general economic changes and how your specific markets will trend as we move into the future.

Forecasting page

I scheduled a Trendcast and received it to good effect, but now I see we need to go beyond one year projections and plan out with confidence for 3-5 years. How can ITR help?

Tactical decisions span the next year, but need to be made within the construct of a strategic plan. That is where ITR can help. How much growth lies ahead? What areas of the marketplace in the global economy will provide the best growth opportunities? We provide quantitative three- and five-year forecasts so you can set your strategic vision to beat the business cycle trends that will prevail over that period.

Forecasting page

You point out that understanding long-range business cycles is important, but my management team gets immersed in the day-to-day details of running the business and I think we lose the big picture. How do we stay focused on future growth?

Many management teams are necessarily focused on shorter-term tactical goals. We provide you with the resources to keep a watchful eye on the future — to see what factors lie ahead that will impact your current business and what opportunities are emerging. You run the company; we discern the future for you.

Consulting/Analysis page

Many of the documents on ITR's site are pdf format. What is pdf and how do I open them?

PDF stands for Portable Document Format and is a file format invented by Adobe Systems that lets you capture and view all types of information — from almost any application, on any computer system — and share it with virtually anyone, anywhere.

In order to view or open a pdf file you need Adobe Reader installed on your computer or implemented in your browser as a plug-in.

You can download the latest version of Adobe Reader for free at: http://get.adobe.com/reader/