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The second estimate for Q1 GDP is over two weeks away, and there will be a third estimate one month later. However, for The Wall Street Journal's survey of economists, Q1 GDP is ancient history. The latest survey, conducted May 3-7 asks for four quarterly estimates beginning with Q2 and annual estimates through 2015.

Let's take a look at some of the views, focusing primarily on the remaining quarters in 2013. I'm using my usual graphing technique to illustrate the distribution of the individual forecasts.

As a reminder, the advance estimate for Q1 GDP came in at 2.5% (see my commentary). Here is the May WSJ spread of forecasts for Q2 GDP, and quite a spread it is with the top estimate 4.5 times higher than the lowest.

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The median (middle) forecast, which was also one of two modes (most frequent responses) was 1.8%. The average (mean) of the forecasts, at 1.9%, was skewed higher by the optimistic 3.6% outlier (which runs counter to the consensus that Q2 will be weaker than Q1). In fact, if we exclude the one outlier, the average drops to the 1.8% median.

When we flash forward to Q3, the optimistic outlier syndrome increases to the extent that I had to rescale the vertical axis a couple of percentage points higher.

(click to enlarge)

Interestingly enough, the Q3 mode of 2.0% remains close to the Q2 average 1.9%. Of course the Q3 average at 2.5% is again skewed by the upbeat responses. If we exclude the three outliers, the median and average response both come in at 2.3%.

What about Q4? The Q4 forecasts float a bit higher, again with some outliers to skew the median and average up a tenth of a percent.

(click to enlarge)

Forecasts for 2013 Annual GDP

I'll conclude this exercise with a look at the WSJ survey results for 2013 annual GDP estimates. I've also highlighted the Fed range in their latest projections.

(click to enlarge)

With the advance estimate of Q1 GDP at 2.5%, we see that the average and the mode for the annual number are little changed, down a tenth of a percent at 2.4%, although the median is a tad lower at 2.2%.

Source: Checking In On The WSJ Economists' Forecasts For GDP