Can you stand to listen to one more economic forecast?
I'm all for transparency and making as much information available as possible. But at times, the daily downpour of new statistics, revisions and forecasts swamps me with information overload instead of providing clarity about the hole the U.S. economy finds itself in.
Such is tea-leaf reading in a media-saturated, hyper-caffeinated world.
That's what makes the Livingston Survey, started way back in 1946, such an enjoyable relic from a time when the man on the street didn't much care what the three-month Treasury bill rate is.
The survey is a semi-annual compilation of economists' expectations that is produced twice a year by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. (And yes, it does forecast T-bill rates.)
But longtime Inquirer readers know that the survey was started by the late Joe Livingston, who wrote an economics column for this newspaper for years. Livingston wanted to present what lots of economists thought about the direction of the economy in one place, not 50 economists' thoughts in 50 different columns.
The Philly Fed says the Livingston Survey is the oldest continuous survey of economists' expectations.
Longevity only gets you so far, though. What I like about the report is it provides an economic outlook for both the short and very long term.
For example, the 32 economists who participated in the latest survey, released on Tuesday, see a decline in the growth rate of real gross domestic product of 3.9 percent for the first half of 2009, and then a 1.1 percent rise in the second half.
Over the next 10 years, however, these economists are calling for slightly higher GDP growth - 2.7 percent annually, up from 2.6 percent from the December survey. That may pale next to China's growth rate, but it's much rosier than I would've expected.
Long term? The Livingston Survey sees it averaging 2.5 percent over the next decade. That figure has remained unchanged over the last 15 surveys, starting in December 2001.