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TitleUsing Data Buffet: SAAR
AuthorKarl Zandi
Question

What is a Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR), how is it useful, and how is it marked in Data Buffet?

Answer

The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) is the seasonally adjusted (SA) monthly value multiplied by 12, or the SA quarterly value multiplied by 4.  It is the theoretical amount of activity for an entire year, assuming the current period is representative; it is not an economic projection or a forecast.  Using an annualized rate facilitates easy comparison of time series with different frequencies; for example, monthly and quarterly series are not directly comparable, but expressing them both in SAAR terms renders them so.

Many datasets are available in several flavors, with each indicator presented in NSA, SA, and SAAR terms, allowing you to pick the most appropriate.  Other datasets are traditionally reported directly in SAAR terms; for example, U.S. automobile sales.

  • Unadjusted or "not seasonally adjusted" (NSA) ---> Annual rate (AR)
  • Seasonally adjusted (SA) ---> Seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR)

For a single Data Buffet time series, "SAAR" appears in the parenthesized unit-descriptor at the end of the "description" textual metadata.

In the catalog, when a variable exists in a family differentiated by adjustment, the alternatives are organized and labeled like this:

  • Labor force
    • Seasonally adjusted
    • Not seasonally adjusted

Or like this:

  • Seasonally adjusted by Moody's Analytics (SAAR)
    • Variable 1
    • Variable 2
  • Not seasonally adjusted
    • Variable 1
    • Variable 2