Business and economic forecasts that are past their shelf life, such as GDP forecasts for the year 2010 made in the year 2008, might seem to be of little value. But business researchers examine old forecasts to test their accuracy or to better understand the economic climate of a period. It is well known that forecasters almost universally missed predicting the “Great Recession” business decline of 2008/2009. For example, The Economist’s Poll of Forecasters for Jan 12, 2008 (pg. 89) predicted that U.S. GDP would increase 1.8% in 2008 and 2.6% in 2009. GDP actually fell slightly in 2008 and was down 2.8% in 2009.
Here are some sources of historical forecasts that will let you exercise 20/20 hindsight.
Sean Griffin from Euromonitor’s Passport GMID Database recently sent us a bulletin celebrating the Great American Smokeout. This is an annual event sponsored by the American Cancer Society designed to encourage people to quit smoking for 24 hours with the hope that the decision will be permanent. Sean uses the Passport database to examine smoking habits in the U.S. With his permission, we’ve adopted his examples and descriptions in the following post.
Smoking was much more accepted in the past. For example, RJ Reynolds was a sponsor of The Flintstones in the early 1960’s. Fred and Barney Rubble became spokestoons for Winston Cigarettes. RJ Reynolds also went on to introduce the Joe Camel mascot to promote Camel cigarettes. RJ Reynolds retired Joe Camel in 1997 after the campaign was criticized for influencing children to smoke,