We distinguish between three different ways of using real-time data to estimate forecasting equations and argue that the most frequently used approach should generally be avoided. The point is illustrated with a model that uses monthly observations of industrial production, employment, and retail sales to predict real GDP growth. When the model is estimated using our preferred method, its out-of-sample forecasting performance is clearly superior to that obtained using conventional estimation, and compares favorably with that of the Blue-Chip consensus.
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Last update: July 19, 2001