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The trend is the component of a time series that represents variations of low frequency in a time series, the high and medium frequency fluctuations having been filtered out. This component can be viewed as those variations with a period longer than a chosen threshold (usually 8 years is considered as the maximum length of the business cycle).

The trend is normally referred to as the long-term movement in a cyclical context (i.e. the trend variations have a longer period than the maximum duration of the business cycle).

In practice, statistical agencies do not estimate the trend but rather focus on the trend-cycle component (see Trend-cycle).

There is no international consensus involving the preferred use of the terms “fluctuation” or “variation”. Common usage of the former term is in the context of a rise or fall in number or amount, and the latter in terms of changes or slight differences in amount or level, typically within certain limits.

Source Publication:
OECD, 2005, Data and Metadata Reporting and Presentation Handbook, OECD, Paris, Section 4: Guidelines for the reporting of different forms of data.

Cross References:

Statistical Theme: Methodological information (metadata)

Created on Monday, July 11, 2005

Last updated on Thursday, December 1, 2005