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Friday, August 26, 2011

GDP Growth Revised Downward, but GDI Growth Revised Upward

The estimate of GDP growth for the second quarter of the year was revised downward today:

Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 1.0 percent in the second quarter of 2011, (that is, from the first quarter to the second quarter), according to the "second" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 0.4 percent.
The GDP estimates released today are based on more complete source data than were available for the "advance" estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, the increase in real GDP was 1.3 percent (see "Revisions" on page 3).

Thus, once again the situation is worse than we initially thought. However, Justin Wolfers finds reason to upgrade his forecast:

There's more news in the first GDI estimates than in the revision to GDP. And it's good news.
Given the track record of GDP v. GDI, I'm actually revising upward my views based on this report. Oh, BEA, why bury the lede in Appendix A?

He is basing this on GDI rather than GDP (which in theory ought to be equal, but practically are not, and GDI is often more reliable) which grew at 2.5% the first quarter (GDP growth was .4%), and in the second quarter it was 1.5% (GDP was 1.0%). That's still not great, or even good, but it is better than the GDP numbers (see here for a comparison of the two measures).

My own view is that whichever set of numbers you look at, they cry out for more aggressive policy.

    Posted by on Friday, August 26, 2011 at 06:21 AM in Economics | Permalink  Comments (14)


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