What are different components of Time Series?

The factors that are responsible for bringing about changes in a time series, also called the components of time series, are as follows:

  • Secular Trends (or General Trends): The secular trend is the main component of a time series which results from long term effects of socio-economic and political factors. This trend may show the growth or decline in a time series over a long period. This is the type of tendency which continues to persist for a very long period. Prices and export and import data, for example, reflect obviously increasing tendencies over time.

  • Seasonal Movements: These are short term movements occurring in data due to seasonal factors. The short term is generally considered as a period in which changes occur in a time series with variations in weather or festivities.

  • Cyclical Movements: These are long term oscillations occurring in a time series. These oscillations are mostly observed in economics data and the periods of such oscillations are generally extended from five to twelve years or more. These oscillations are associated with the well known business cycles. These cyclic movements can be studied provided a long series of measurements, free from irregular fluctuations, is available.

  • Irregular Fluctuations: These are sudden changes occurring in a time series which are unlikely to be repeated. They are components of a time series which cannot be explained by trends, seasonal or cyclic movements. These variations are sometimes called residual or random components.