How accurate are population and job forecasts?

1.8 million more people and 1.2 million more jobs by 2050

A regional macroeconomic forecast released last month anticipates the region will add about 1.8 million more people and 1.2 million jobs between now and 2050.

People want to know:  How accurate is the forecast?

The short answer:  The forecast comes reasonably close to what really happens.

The region has developed a series of regional macroeconomic forecasts as far back as the 1960s.

The forecast includes the number of people, jobs and households in the region. It focuses on the long-term growth rate, rather than shorter term fluctuations such as recessions.

Since 1988, the forecast has been for a regional population of between 4.0 and 4.3 million people by 2020.

The latest forecast anticipates the region will likely be around 4.2 million people in 2020.

Population Forecast Chart

 

Since 1988, regional employment was forecast to be between 2.0 and 2.3 million jobs in 2020.

The region will likely be around 2.2 million jobs in 2020, based on the most recent forecast.  

Jobs Forecast Chart

Over the last three decades of doing forecasts, the “error” or difference between the projections for 2020 and our current prediction has averaged 1.8 percent for jobs and 2.7 percent for population. 

So, the real growth that’s happened has landed squarely in the ballpark of what 30 years of forecasts have predicted.

In developing the regional forecast, PSRC relies on the input of technical experts from around the region and the Office of Financial Management.

The regional forecast is the cornerstone of planning at PSRC, and will serve as a key input to the VISION 2050 planning process that is getting underway.