Forecasts Forecasts

Forecasts Forecasts

Forecasts Forecasts can be judged only partly by their accuracy. A forecast which is right because inaccurate estimates or judgments happen to cancel out or for reasons the forecaster did not expect is likely to lead to bad guidance later on. Again, a forecast based on trend will be right so long as events follow a continuous pattern, but will be wrong when new plans and decisions are most needed at a turning point, such as a change in taste or technique which is difficult to foresee. In addition to the requirement of accuracy, forecasts need to be understood easily if they are to be used, must not take too long to prepare, and must not be more costly to produce than the value of the contribution they make to the better use of resources or the avoidance of waste.

The techniques of economic or near-economic forecasting are still often crude and untried in Britain, the U.S.A. and Europe. In business firms economists are increasingly expected to attempt forecasts, though their forecasts do not necessarily rest entirely on economic analysis. Errors in forecasting within individual firms are likely to be limited by theft effects on costs and profits. Forecasting on a national scale in Britain by government al departments, agencies or committees in atomic energy and coal, the demand for doctors, the size of the population, the costs of national insurance benefits, the output of and the demand for steel, etc., have caused waste of resources that are more difficult to control.

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