Lise Pichette was appointed Regional Director (Economics) at the Bank of Canada’s Quebec Regional Office in November 2014. In this capacity, she directs research and analysis on economic and sectoral developments in the region, including overseeing the Bank’s Business Outlook Survey in Quebec. Mrs. Pichette also plays a major role in the office’s activities by communicating the Bank’s messages to various external audiences and promoting an exchange of views on the economy and monetary policy.
Mrs. Pichette joined the Bank in 1997 as an economist in the Research Department (now Canadian Economic Analysis). In 2005, she was appointed Principal Researcher in the Regional Analysis Division at the Quebec Regional Office, a position she held until being named Senior Representative.
Born in Montréal, Quebec, Mrs. Pichette holds a master’s degree in economics from Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).
We use a new real-time database for Canada to study various output gap measures. This includes recently developed measures based on models incorporating many variables as inputs (and therefore requiring real-time data for many variables).
Every quarter, the Bank of Canada conducts quarterly consultations with businesses across Canada, referred to as the Business Outlook Survey (BOS). A principal-component analysis conducted by Pichette and Rennison (2011) led to the development of the BOS indicator, which summarizes survey results and is used by the Bank as a gauge of overall business sentiment.
Estimating potential output and the output gap - the difference between actual output and its potential - is important for the proper conduct of monetary policy. However, the measurement and interpretation of potential output, and hence the output gap, is fraught with uncertainty, since it is unobservable.
Since the autumn of 1997, the regional offices of the Bank of Canada have conducted quarterly consultations with businesses across Canada. These consultations, summarized in the Business Outlook Survey (BOS), are structured around a survey questionnaire that covers topics of importance to the Bank, notably business activity, pressures on production capacity, prices and inflation, and credit conditions.
This article reviews recent work that uses principal-component analysis to extract information common to indicators from the Bank of Canada’s Business Outlook Survey (BOS). The authors use correlation analysis and an out-of-sample forecasting exercise to assess and compare the information content of the principal component with that of responses to key individual survey questions on growth in real gross domestic product and in real business investment. Results suggest that summarizing the common movements among BOS indicators may provide useful information for forecasting near-term growth in business investment. For growth in real gross domestic product, however, the survey’s balance of opinion on future sales growth appears to be more informative.