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How Often Are They Right?

ECONOMIC forecasters trace their ancestry to a 16th century astrologer who was hired to prophesy financial trends for the German banking house of Fugger. The art of business prediction has come a long way from its starry-eyed origins. But economists admit readily that their prognostications are still largely a matter of educated guesswork. And in the current uncertainty over the economic outlook, guesstimating fever has reached epidemic pitch. Says one topflight Washington economist: "We work by the seat of our pants more often than we like to admit."


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