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"Bringing the measurements of critical economic activities into the twenty-first century by
mining tracking data for an understanding of what American consumers were doing yesterday."


Monthly Weighted Composite Consumer Leading Indicator for Past 48 Months



Monthly Weighted Composite Consumer Leading Indicator for Past 48 Months


Last 10 Monthly Index Values
Date:06/201307/201308/201309/201310/201311/201312/201301/201402/201403/2014
Value:98.1898.7198.2594.5799.0398.3495.7394.5093.9093.31


Daily Growth Index Past 60 Days


 Daily Growth Index Past 60 Days(1): 
 
Chart
(Click here for best resolution)
 
 Notes:
  (1) The daily values for the Consumer Metrics Institute's 91-day 'Trailing Quarter' Growth Index over the past 60 days. Please see our Frequently Asked Questions page for a more complete description of our Growth Index.


 


Daily Growth Index -vs- Full GDP Past 48 Months


 Growth Index -vs- Full GDP, Past 4 Years(2): 
 
Chart
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 Notes:
  (2) The Consumer Metrics Institute's 91-day 'Trailing Quarter' Growth Index -vs- BEA's Quarterly Full GDP Growth Rates over past 4 years. The quarterly GDP growth rates are shown as 3-month plateaus in the graph. The Consumer Metrics Institute's Growth Index is plotted as a monthly average.


 


BEA's "Real" GDP -vs- BLS Deflated "Nominal" GDP, Past 4 Years


 BEA "Real" GDP -vs- BLS Deflated "Nominal" GDP, Past 4 Years(3,4): 
 
Chart
(Click here for best resolution)
 
 Notes:
  (3) Line items in the BEA's nominal GDP are deflated by either the Bureau of Labor Statistic's (BLS) CPI-U index or the BLS PPI index, according to whichever is most appropriate.
  (4) Note that when deflating the line items in the GDP tables from the BEA it is important to treat the "nominal" import and export data as the effective net "real" data -- since there are no offsetting domestic transactions carrying the correspondingly inflated or deflated prices (i.e., the one-sided net impact of inflating imported commodities is "real" to the economy). The net consequences of inflating import prices may become material in times of substantial and sustained trade imbalances.


 


BEA's "Real" GDP -vs- BLS Deflated Per-Capita GDP, Past 4 Years


 BEA "Real" GDP -vs- BLS Deflated Per-Capita GDP, Past 4 Years(5): 
 
Chart
(Click here for best resolution)
 
 Notes:
  (5) Line items in the BEA's nominal GDP are deflated by either the Bureau of Labor Statistic's (BLS) CPI-U index or the BLS PPI index, and reported on a per-capita basis by using Census Bureau projected mid-quarter population data.


 


BEA's "Real" GDP -vs- BLS Deflated Per-Capita Disposable Income, Past 4 Years


 BEA "Real" GDP -vs- BLS Deflated Per-Capita Disposable Income, Past 4 Years(6): 
 
Chart
(Click here for best resolution)
 
 Notes:
  (6) Line items in the BEA's Disposable Personal Income report are deflated by the Bureau of Labor Statistic's (BLS) CPI-U index and reported on a per-capita basis by using Census Bureau projected mid-quarter population data.


 


BEA's "Real" GDP -vs- BLS Deflated Per-Capita Proprietors Income, Past 4 Years


 BEA "Real" GDP -vs- BLS Deflated Per-Capita Proprietor Income, Past 4 Years(7): 
 
Chart
(Click here for best resolution)
 
 Notes:
  (7) The Proprietors' income (with inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments) line from the BEA's Disposable Personal Income report are deflated by the Bureau of Labor Statistic's (BLS) CPI-U index and reported on a per-capita basis by using Census Bureau projected mid-quarter population data.


 

Commentary


   
 March 27, 2014 - BEA Revises 4th Quarter 2013 GDP Growth Up Slightly To A 2.64% Annual Rate:

In their third estimate of the US GDP for the fourth quarter of 2013, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported that the economy was growing at a 2.64% annualized rate, up .27% from the 2.37% growth rate previously reported -- but still down sharply (-1.53%) from the 4.19% reported for the 3rd quarter. The improvement in the headline growth came almost entirely from the BEA's reassessment of consumer spending on services (adding .57% to the headline number, mostly from increased spending on health care). Offsetting that increase were downward adjustments to consumer spending on goods (-.06%), the growth rate for inventories (which lost -.16% and is now reported to be in slight contraction) and fixed investment (-.15%). Only minor adjustments were made to exports and imports. As a consequence of the consumer services revision and the slight inventory contraction the BEA's "bottom line" growth rate for the economy (the "real final sales of domestic product") strengthened by nearly a half percent to a 2.66% annualized growth rate.

Real annualized per-capita disposable income is now reported to have been essentially flat during the fourth quarter (gaining $1 annualized per-capita), and the household savings rate was adjusted back downward to 4.3% (down -.6% from the 4.9% in the prior quarter and down -2.3% year-over-year from the fourth quarter of 2012). That savings rate has been effectively absorbing the January 2013 2% increase in FICA tax rates -- allowing households to sustain spending even as take-home pay took a haircut.

Finally, for this report the BEA assumed annualized net aggregate inflation of 1.56%. During the fourth quarter (i.e., from October through December) the growth rate of the seasonally adjusted CPI-U index published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was slightly lower at a 1.46% (annualized) rate, while the price index reported by the Billion Prices Project (BPP -- which arguably best reflects the experiences of the American consumer) was substantially higher at 2.46%. Under reported inflation will result in overly optimistic growth data, and if the BEA's numbers were corrected for inflation using the BPP inflation rate the fourth quarter's growth rate would have only been 1.78%.

Among the notable items in the report:

-- The contribution of consumer expenditures for goods to the headline number decreased slightly to 0.66% (down -0.06%, and -0.37% lower than the 1.03% contribution in the prior quarter).

-- The contribution made by consumer services spending increased to 1.57% (up from the 1.00% previously reported). Almost all of this increased spending was in health care.

-- The growth rate contribution from private fixed investments decreased to 0.43% (less than half of the 0.89% reported during the prior quarter).

-- Notably inventories are now reported to be contracting at a marginal pace -- subtracting -0.02% from the headline growth rate (down -1.65% from the prior quarter). The prior three quarters had seen substantial inventory growth that had boosted the reported annualized growth rate by an average of 1%.

-- The Federal government "shutdown" is still in the "current" reporting quarter (i.e., 4Q-2013), and it removed -0.99% from the headline number.

-- Exports contributed 1.23% to the overall growth rate, essentially unchanged (up 0.01%) from the previous report. In context, this is the strongest export growth since the fourth quarter of 2010.

-- Imports subtracted -0.24% from the headline number (unchanged from the previous report).

-- The annualized growth rate for the "real final sales of domestic product" increased to 2.66% (up from the 2.45% in the prior quarter). This is the BEA's "bottom line" measurement of the economy -- and it is now slightly stronger than the headline number because of the minor contraction in inventories.

-- And as mentioned above, real per-capita annual disposable income is now reported to have grown by a minuscule amount during the quarter -- increasing a miserable $1 per year. But that number is down a material -$316 per year (roughly 1%) from the fourth quarter of 2012 (before the FICA rates normalized) and it is up less than 1% in total ($270 per year) since the second quarter of 2008 -- some 22 quarters ago.




The Numbers, As Revised

As a quick reminder, the classic definition of the GDP can be summarized with the following equation:

GDP = private consumption + gross private investment + government spending + (exports - imports)


or, as it is commonly expressed in algebraic shorthand:

GDP = C + I + G + (X-M)


In the new report the values for that equation (total dollars, percentage of the total GDP, and contribution to the final percentage growth number) are as follows:

GDP Components Table

Total GDP=C+I+G+(X-M)
Annual $ (trillions)$17.1=$11.7+$2.8+$3.1+$-0.5
% of GDP100.0%=68.2%+16.2%+18.3%+-2.7%
Contribution to GDP Growth %2.64%=2.23%+0.41%+-0.99%+0.99%


The quarter-to-quarter changes in the contributions that various components make to the overall GDP can be best understood from the table below, which breaks out the component contributions in more detail and over time. In the table below we have split the "C" component into goods and services, split the "I" component into fixed investment and inventories, separated exports from imports, added a line for the BEA's "Real Final Sales of Domestic Product" and listed the quarters in columns with the most current to the left:

Quarterly Changes in % Contributions to GDP

4Q-20133Q-20132Q-20131Q-20134Q-20123Q-20122Q-20121Q-20124Q-20113Q-20112Q-20111Q-20114Q-20103Q-20102Q-20101Q-2010
Total GDP Growth2.64%4.12%2.48%1.14%0.14%2.78%1.20%3.71%4.86%1.37%3.19%-1.29%2.80%2.78%3.91%1.59%
Consumer Goods0.66%1.03%0.71%0.85%0.85%0.84%0.50%1.04%1.14%0.29%0.05%0.60%1.66%0.85%1.14%0.88%
Consumer Services1.57%0.32%0.53%0.69%0.29%0.31%0.78%0.94%0.51%1.14%0.98%0.81%1.21%1.02%1.07%0.54%
Fixed Investment0.43%0.89%0.96%-0.23%1.63%0.39%0.68%1.21%1.39%1.96%1.16%-0.05%1.13%-0.04%1.77%0.11%
Inventories-0.02%1.67%0.41%0.93%-2.00%0.60%-0.91%0.36%2.73%-1.60%0.72%-1.06%-1.64%1.90%1.09%1.66%
Government-0.99%0.08%-0.07%-0.82%-1.31%0.67%0.05%-0.28%-0.31%-0.52%-0.25%-1.61%-0.87%-0.07%0.61%-0.63%
Exports1.23%0.52%1.04%-0.18%0.15%0.05%0.51%0.56%0.38%0.92%0.64%0.48%1.47%1.27%1.10%0.73%
Imports-0.24%-0.39%-1.10%-0.10%0.53%-0.08%-0.41%-0.12%-0.98%-0.82%-0.11%-0.46%-0.15%-2.15%-2.87%-1.70%
Real Final Sales2.66%2.45%2.07%0.21%2.14%2.18%2.11%3.35%2.13%2.97%2.47%-0.23%4.44%0.88%2.82%-0.07%





Summary and Commentary

There are a few of notable take-aways from this report, especially when looking ahead to the first quarter of 2014:

-- The year-long cycle of inventory building has apparently come to an end. Dating back to the first quarter of 2006, the reported average real annualized growth rate of inventories has been a relatively neutral +0.04%. This is not surprising because over an extended time period inventories are mostly a cyclical zero-sum game, with excessive growth or contraction in any one period being corrected during subsequent periods. Moving forward we should expect that inventories will continue their cyclical transition from building to contraction, with negative consequences to the headline number.

-- The Federal government's "shutdown" subtracted roughly 1% from the fourth quarter's reported growth rate. If Federal spending simply reverts to the prior quarter's level, we might expect a roughly 1% boost to the headline number. On the other hand, if the Federal budget experienced a "catch-up" effect from sequestered spending that was merely pushed into the first quarter, we could see yet another quarter's report distorted by the "shutdown" -- this time with the first quarter shoved firmly to the upside.

-- The headline growth contribution from commercial fixed investment dropped over 2% from quarter to quarter, and it was sustained largely by spending on equipment (healthcare and transportation) -- with spending on structures actually contracting slightly. Residential housing construction flipped to significant contraction after 12 consecutive quarters of growth.

-- Although the growth contribution from imports is at about the long term average, exports are currently growing at about twice their longer term average. Sustained long term growth in exports requires healthy and growing trading partners. Given softening growth in a number of our trading partners, this historically high growth rate for exports may not be sustainable.

-- Household income shows no signs of recovery. Real per-capita income remains stagnant quarter to quarter, and down substantially year over year. It bears repeating that total real per-capita income growth since the second quarter of 2008 has been 0.73% -- an average annualized growth rate of just 0.13% during the entire "recovery." The household savings rate is down over 2.3% year over year, and it remains well below the historical long term savings rate.

-- Ominously, the just reported upside revision to "growth" in consumer spending was caused by an increased real cost of household healthcare. And in the fourth quarter of 2013 the ObamaCare launch was just sputtering, at best. We should expect consumer spending on services to continue to grow in the first quarter of 2014, largely as a result of non-discretionary healthcare expenses. But given stagnant household income, all of that heavily promoted spending for new coverage through health care exchanges has got to come from somewhere -- with both household discretionary spending and savings taking it on the chin as net spending further transfers to the healthcare industries.

The next GDP report (the first estimate for the first quarter of 2014) will certainly be interesting. It might well be distorted by the bounce-back in Federal spending, and it could reflect ongoing softening of commercial spending for inventories and fixed investments. It will also begin to display the impact of the new healthcare initiatives on household spending and the overall structure of the economy.
 
   
   
 February 28, 2014 - BEA Revises 4th Quarter 2013 GDP Growth Down to 2.37% Annual Rate:

In their second estimate of the US GDP for the fourth quarter of 2013, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported that the economy was growing at a 2.37% annualized rate, down -.85% from the 3.22% growth rate previously reported and down sharply (-1.75%) from the 4.19% reported for the 3rd quarter. The weakening in the headline growth was broadly evident in the details, with consumer spending on goods contributing to nearly half of the decrease (-.40%), and lower growth rates seen in inventories (-.28%), consumer services (-.14%), governmental spending (-.12%), exports (-.26%) and imports (-.09%). The only major positive contribution came from fixed investment (which added an additional +.44% to the headline number). The BEA's own "bottom line" growth rate for the economy (the "real final sales of domestic product") weakened by over a half percent to a 2.23% annualized growth rate, principally as a result of a significant slowing in the expansion in inventories.

Real annualized per capita disposable income was now reported to be shrinking during the fourth quarter, and the household savings rate was adjusted upward slightly to 4.5% (although that is still down from 4.9% in the prior quarter). That savings rate has been recovering from a 2.5% hit during the first quarter as households struggled to absorb the 2% increase in FICA tax rates -- but most of that recovery in savings rates has now been given back as households continue to deal with contracting disposable incomes.

Finally, for this report the BEA assumed annualized net aggregate inflation of 1.62%. During the fourth quarter (i.e., from October through December) the seasonally adjusted CPI-U index published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was lower at 1.09% (annualized), while the price index reported by the Billion Prices Project (BPP -- which arguably best reflects the experiences of the American consumer) was essentially the same as that used in this report.

Among the notable items in the report:

-- The contribution of consumer expenditures for goods to the headline number decreased materially to 0.72% (down -0.40%, and -0.31% lower than the 1.03% contribution in the prior quarter).

-- The contribution made by consumer services weakened to 1.00% (down from the 1.14% previously reported).

-- The growth rate contribution from private fixed investments increased sharply to 0.58% (but it is still down from the 0.89% in the prior quarter).

-- Inventories continued to grow, but at a marginal pace -- contributing only 0.14% to the headline growth rate (down -1.53% from the prior quarter).

-- The "shutdown" caused a net contraction in governmental expenditures, subtracting -1.05% from the headline number. Although most of the contraction occurred at the Federal level, state and local infrastructure investment was now reported to be contracting slightly.

-- Exports contributed 1.22% to the overall growth rate, down -0.26% from the previous report.

-- And imports now subtracted -0.24% from the headline number (compared to -0.15% previously reported).

-- The annualized growth rate for the "real final sales of domestic product" decreased to 2.23% (down from the 2.45% in the prior quarter). This is the BEA's "bottom line" measurement of the economy -- which remains somewhat weaker than the headline number because of the ongoing (but much slower) buildup of inventories.

-- And as mentioned above, real per-capita annual disposable income is now reported to have contracted very slightly during the quarter -- dropping $2. But that number is down a much more material $324 per year (roughly 1%) from the fourth quarter of 2012 (before the FICA rates normalized).




The Numbers, As Revised

As a quick reminder, the classic definition of the GDP can be summarized with the following equation:

GDP = private consumption + gross private investment + government spending + (exports - imports)


or, as it is commonly expressed in algebraic shorthand:

GDP = C + I + G + (X-M)


In the new report the values for that equation (total dollars, percentage of the total GDP, and contribution to the final percentage growth number) are as follows:

GDP Components Table

Total GDP=C+I+G+(X-M)
Annual $ (trillions)$17.1=$11.6+$2.8+$3.1+$-0.5
% of GDP100.0%=68.2%+16.3%+18.2%+-2.7%
Contribution to GDP Growth %2.37%=1.72%+0.72%+-1.05%+0.98%


The quarter-to-quarter changes in the contributions that various components make to the overall GDP can be best understood from the table below, which breaks out the component contributions in more detail and over time. In the table below we have split the "C" component into goods and services, split the "I" component into fixed investment and inventories, separated exports from imports, added a line for the BEA's "Real Final Sales of Domestic Product" and listed the quarters in columns with the most current to the left:

Quarterly Changes in % Contributions to GDP

4Q-20133Q-20132Q-20131Q-20134Q-20123Q-20122Q-20121Q-20124Q-20113Q-20112Q-20111Q-20114Q-20103Q-20102Q-20101Q-2010
Total GDP Growth2.37%4.12%2.48%1.14%0.14%2.78%1.20%3.71%4.86%1.37%3.19%-1.29%2.80%2.78%3.91%1.59%
Consumer Goods0.72%1.03%0.71%0.85%0.85%0.84%0.50%1.04%1.14%0.29%0.05%0.60%1.66%0.85%1.14%0.88%
Consumer Services1.00%0.32%0.53%0.69%0.29%0.31%0.78%0.94%0.51%1.14%0.98%0.81%1.21%1.02%1.07%0.54%
Fixed Investment0.58%0.89%0.96%-0.23%1.63%0.39%0.68%1.21%1.39%1.96%1.16%-0.05%1.13%-0.04%1.77%0.11%
Inventories0.14%1.67%0.41%0.93%-2.00%0.60%-0.91%0.36%2.73%-1.60%0.72%-1.06%-1.64%1.90%1.09%1.66%
Government-1.05%0.08%-0.07%-0.82%-1.31%0.67%0.05%-0.28%-0.31%-0.52%-0.25%-1.61%-0.87%-0.07%0.61%-0.63%
Exports1.22%0.52%1.04%-0.18%0.15%0.05%0.51%0.56%0.38%0.92%0.64%0.48%1.47%1.27%1.10%0.73%
Imports-0.24%-0.39%-1.10%-0.10%0.53%-0.08%-0.41%-0.12%-0.98%-0.82%-0.11%-0.46%-0.15%-2.15%-2.87%-1.70%
Real Final Sales2.23%2.45%2.07%0.21%2.14%2.18%2.11%3.35%2.13%2.97%2.47%-0.23%4.44%0.88%2.82%-0.07%





Summary and Commentary

At face value this report shows economic growth that was weakening quarter-to-quarter in the fourth quarter of 2013. And the downward revisions in this report (from a "first estimate" that the BEA freely admits is always something of an educated guess) were broadly based, indicating that the incoming firmer numbers have been consistently surprising the BEA to the downside.

The BEA has a history of substantial "real-time" misses at the commencement of a downturn in the economy -- always as the result of an overly optimistic reading of a rapidly deteriorating situation. This also tells us something about their methodologies -- which to some cynics (including us) seem to be less about actual timely measurements of the economy and more about modeled projections of what they think the economy should be doing based on data that is some months old.

In this context it is useful to recall the BEA's historic track record on reporting the growth rate for the first full quarter of the last recession -- the "Great Recession" that the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) says commenced in December 2007. In their second estimate of the growth rate for the first quarter of 2008 -- the first full quarter of the NBER's recession -- the BEA reported roughly six years ago that:

"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 0.9 percent in the first quarter of 2008, according to preliminary estimates released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 0.6 percent."

In other words, the BEA was reporting then (May 2008) that the economy had improved relative to the prior quarter. In fact their newly revised estimate was even better than the prior estimate for 1Q-2008 published a month earlier, which at +0.6% was flat when compared to 4Q-2007. And the following month they would report a yet even better headline number (+1.0% annualized GDP growth rate). When we put the BEA estimates for 1Q-2008 into a table showing how they changed over time it looks something like this:

BEA's Changing View of First Quarter 2008 GDP

Reported Growth RateReport DateMonths Lag
+0.6%April 30, 20081
+0.9%May 29, 20082
+1.0%June 26, 20083
+0.9%July 31, 20084
-0.7%July 31, 200916
-0.7%July 30, 201028
-1.8%July 29, 201140
-2.7%July 31, 201364




If anyone missed the key point: in the table above all of the BEA's reported growth rates are for the same quarter, the first quarter of 2008 -- the first full quarter of the last recession. The only difference is the lag time between the close of the quarter and the BEA's reporting of its growth. And if the scope of the revisions somehow escaped you, they missed the annualized growth rate in "real-time" by a staggeringly optimistic 3.3%!

Given the BEA's "real-time" track record, it is possible that the US economy is currently in a state of flux -- with the weakening hinted at in this report both more pervasive and dynamic than the BEA currently understands. Unfortunately if that is true, the official GDP numbers will be among the last places to watch a downside event unfold.
 
   
   
 January 30, 2014 - BEA Estimates 4th Quarter 2013 GDP Growth at 3.22% Annual Rate, Down Modestly from 3rd Quarter:

In their first estimate of the US GDP for the fourth quarter of 2013, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported that the economy was growing at a 3.22% annualized rate, down .9% from the 4.12% growth rate during the third quarter. The weakening in the headline growth number came principally from commercial fixed investments (which pulled the headline down by -0.75%), slowing inventory growth (removing another -1.25%) and government spending (with the "shutdown" slicing an additional -1.01% from the headline). Positive contributions came from consumer services (adding 0.82% to the headline) and foreign trade (boosting it another 1.20%). The BEA's own "bottom line" growth rate for the economy (the "real final sales of domestic product") strengthened to a 2.80% annualized growth rate, principally as a result of the slowing expansion in inventories.

Real annualized per capita disposable income was reported to have been flat during the fourth quarter, and households had to reduce their personal savings rate to 4.3% (from 4.9% in the prior quarter). That savings rate had previously been recovering from a 2.5% hit during the first quarter as households struggled to absorb the 2% increase in FICA tax rates -- but most of that recovery in savings rates has now been given back as households continue to deal with stagnating incomes.

Finally, for this report the BEA assumed annualized net aggregate inflation of 1.30%. During the fourth quarter (i.e., from October through December) the seasonally adjusted CPI-U index published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was lower at 1.09% (annualized), while in contrast the price index reported by the Billion Prices Project (BPP) was higher at an annualized rate of about 1.6%. If the CPI-U had been used to convert the "nominal" GDP numbers into "real" numbers, the reported headline growth rate would have been a somewhat higher 3.47%, but using the BPP index (which arguably best reflects the experiences of the American consumer) would have generated a lower 2.96% annualized growth rate.

Among the notable items in the report:

-- The contribution of consumer expenditures for goods to the headline number increased to 1.12% (up slightly from 1.03% in the prior quarter).

-- The contribution made by consumer services improved to 1.14% (up significantly from the 0.32% contribution in the prior quarter).

-- The growth rate contribution from private fixed investments dropped to 0.14% (down substantially from the 0.89% in the prior quarter).

-- Inventories continued to grow, but at a much slower pace -- contributing only 0.42% to the headline growth rate (down -1.25% from the prior quarter).

-- The "shutdown" caused a net contraction in governmental expenditures, subtracting -0.93% from the headline number. Although all of the contraction occurred at the Federal level, state and local spending was essentially flat.

-- Exports contributed 1.48% to the overall growth rate, up nearly a full percent from the 0.52% in the prior quarter.

-- And imports now subtracted a mere -0.15% from the headline number (compared to -0.39% during the prior quarter).

-- The annualized growth rate for the "real final sales of domestic product" increased to 2.80% (up from the 2.45% in the previous quarter). This is the BEA's "bottom line" measurement of the economy -- which remains somewhat weaker than the headline number because of the ongoing (but slower) buildup of inventories.

-- And as mentioned above, real per-capita disposable income was utterly flat from quarter to quarter. And that number is still down $317 per year relative to the fourth quarter of 2012 (before the FICA rates normalized).




The Numbers

As a quick reminder, the classic definition of the GDP can be summarized with the following equation:

GDP = private consumption + gross private investment + government spending + (exports - imports)


or, as it is commonly expressed in algebraic shorthand:

GDP = C + I + G + (X-M)


In the new report the values for that equation (total dollars, percentage of the total GDP, and contribution to the final percentage growth number) are as follows:

GDP Components Table

Total GDP=C+I+G+(X-M)
Annual $ (trillions)$17.1=$11.7+$2.8+$3.1+$-0.4
% of GDP100.0%=68.1%+16.2%+18.2%+-2.6%
Contribution to GDP Growth %3.22%=2.26%+0.56%+-0.93%+1.33%


The quarter-to-quarter changes in the contributions that various components make to the overall GDP can be best understood from the table below, which breaks out the component contributions in more detail and over time. In the table below we have split the "C" component into goods and services, split the "I" component into fixed investment and inventories, separated exports from imports, added a line for the BEA's "Real Final Sales of Domestic Product" and listed the quarters in columns with the most current to the left:

Quarterly Changes in % Contributions to GDP

4Q-20133Q-20132Q-20131Q-20134Q-20123Q-20122Q-20121Q-20124Q-20113Q-20112Q-20111Q-20114Q-20103Q-20102Q-20101Q-2010
Total GDP Growth3.22%4.12%2.48%1.14%0.14%2.78%1.20%3.71%4.86%1.37%3.19%-1.29%2.80%2.78%3.91%1.59%
Consumer Goods1.12%1.03%0.71%0.85%0.85%0.84%0.50%1.04%1.14%0.29%0.05%0.60%1.66%0.85%1.14%0.88%
Consumer Services1.14%0.32%0.53%0.69%0.29%0.31%0.78%0.94%0.51%1.14%0.98%0.81%1.21%1.02%1.07%0.54%
Fixed Investment0.14%0.89%0.96%-0.23%1.63%0.39%0.68%1.21%1.39%1.96%1.16%-0.05%1.13%-0.04%1.77%0.11%
Inventories0.42%1.67%0.41%0.93%-2.00%0.60%-0.91%0.36%2.73%-1.60%0.72%-1.06%-1.64%1.90%1.09%1.66%
Government-0.93%0.08%-0.07%-0.82%-1.31%0.67%0.05%-0.28%-0.31%-0.52%-0.25%-1.61%-0.87%-0.07%0.61%-0.63%
Exports1.48%0.52%1.04%-0.18%0.15%0.05%0.51%0.56%0.38%0.92%0.64%0.48%1.47%1.27%1.10%0.73%
Imports-0.15%-0.39%-1.10%-0.10%0.53%-0.08%-0.41%-0.12%-0.98%-0.82%-0.11%-0.46%-0.15%-2.15%-2.87%-1.70%
Real Final Sales2.80%2.45%2.07%0.21%2.14%2.18%2.11%3.35%2.13%2.97%2.47%-0.23%4.44%0.88%2.82%-0.07%





Summary and Commentary

For the past quarter we have been examining how the surprisingly robust BEA growth estimates have been impacting the size and duration of the Federal Reserve's QE program. Yesterday's Fed news had already told us what to expect from this announcement. At face value a new headline growth rate above 3% (and a prior quarter number north of 4%) qualifies as "healthy economic growth," and continues to place the US among the fastest growing developed countries. And absent the "shutdown" we could have had a second consecutive quarter above 4%. The growth rates certainly provide cover for continued tapering. And in fact these kinds of growth rates might argue for a return to more historically normal interest rates.

Given this healthy economic growth, the US electorate should be thrilled -- happy to be part of one of the fastest growing developed economies.

Yet they are clearly less than thrilled with the economy, let alone the administration or their representatives in Congress. Why? With real household income stagnant and still below where it was in 2012, the electorate's view of the economy differs substantially from these numbers.

Unlike their elected representatives, they have to deal with the "real world" problems of making ends meet while juggling debt loads at credit card rates. It is likely that they have a deep and abiding sense that either these numbers are a bureaucratic fiction, or (more troubling) they are benefiting someone else:

-- The headline unemployment numbers mask a major deformation of the work force -- with fewer people choosing to look for work and more being forced to accept multiple part time jobs. People on the street understand the difference between an increasing quantity of part-time work and the quality of full-time jobs.

-- Real per capita disposable income was down -0.85% during 2013. And to maintain the prior year's standard of living, the household savings rate plunged 2.3%.

-- For many households (and especially the 18-35 demographic) the Affordable Care Act (aka "ObamaCare") will result in increased net monthly outlays for health insurance.

-- The per capita numbers continue to mask an ongoing shift in income distribution: although the average per capita income data has grown some 3.3% since October 2008 (per the BEA), the median household income has shrunk some 7% over that same time span (per Sentier Research). The typical member of the electorate lives at the median, and they are not sharing the growth reported by the BEA.

On the surface these were nice numbers, enough to satisfy the Federal Reserve that more of the same lies ahead. Unfortunately, most households would probably prefer something far better than an extension of that "same."
 
   
   
 December 20, 2013 - BEA Revises 3rd Quarter 2013 GDP Growth Upward Again to 4.12% Annual Rate:

In their third and final estimate of the US GDP for the third quarter of 2013, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported that the economy was growing at a 4.12% annualized rate, up another 0.52% from the 3.60% growth rate previously reported for the third quarter and now up a full 1.64% from the second quarter. The improvement in the headline growth number came principally from consumption of consumer services and goods (adding a new additional 0.40% to the headline), and fixed investment (which improved its contribution by 0.08%). And the BEA's own "bottom line" growth rate for the economy (the "real final sales of domestic product") strengthened to a 2.45% annualized growth rate.

Real annualized per capita disposable income is now reported to have risen by $200 per year during the third quarter and the personal savings rate decreased slightly to 4.9% (from 5.0% reported earlier). That savings rate had taken a 2.5% hit (a 38% reduction in the savings rate) during the first quarter as households struggled to absorb the 2% increase in FICA tax rates. The savings rate has now recovered more than a third of those first quarter cutbacks -- with the funding of those savings coming mostly through weaker growth in household expenditures.

Finally, for this report the BEA assumed annualized net aggregate inflation of 1.98%. This deflator is reasonably close to those recorded by its sister agencies within the US Government. During the third quarter (i.e., from June to September) the seasonally adjusted CPI-U index published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) rose by 1.73% (annualized), and the price index published by the Billion Prices Project (BPP) rose at an annualized rate of 1.72%. As a reminder: an overstatement of assumed inflation decreases the reported headline number -- and in this case the BEA's "deflator" slightly lowered the published headline rate. If the CPI-U had been used to convert the "nominal" GDP numbers into "real" numbers, the reported headline growth rate would have been a somewhat higher +4.46%, while using the BPP index (which arguably best reflects the experiences of the American consumer) would have generated an even higher +4.47% annualized rate.

Among the notable items in the report:

-- The contribution of consumer expenditures for goods to the headline number increased to 1.03% (up from 0.93% in the prior report).

-- The contribution made by consumer services improved to 0.32% (up from 0.02% previously reported, but still down from 0.53% in the prior quarter).

-- The growth rate contribution from private fixed investments strengthened to 0.89% (up from the 0.81% previously reported, but still down slightly from 0.96% in the prior quarter).

-- Inventories were shown as about the same as previously thought, contributing +1.67% to the headline growth rate (still more than four times the +0.41% contribution during the prior quarter).

-- A very slight contraction net governmental expenditures subtracted -0.01% from the headline number, with any reported growth occurring exclusively at state and local levels.

-- Exports contributed 0.52% to the overall growth rate, up slightly from the 0.50% previously reported -- but still down materially from the 1.04% reported for the second quarter.

-- And imports now subtracted -0.39% from the headline number (compared to -1.10% during the prior quarter).

-- The annualized growth rate for the "real final sales of domestic product" increased to 2.45% (up from the 2.07% in the previous quarter). This is the BEA's "bottom line" measurement of the economy -- which remains substantially weaker than the headline number because of the ongoing buildup of inventories.

-- And as mentioned above, real per-capita disposable income improved slightly and it is now reported to have increased by an annualized $200 from quarter to quarter. But that number is still down $317 per year relative to the fourth quarter of 2012 (before the FICA rates normalized).




The Numbers

As a quick reminder, the classic definition of the GDP can be summarized with the following equation:

GDP = private consumption + gross private investment + government spending + (exports - imports)


or, as it is commonly expressed in algebraic shorthand:

GDP = C + I + G + (X-M)


In the new report the values for that equation (total dollars, percentage of the total GDP, and contribution to the final percentage growth number) are as follows:

GDP Components Table

Total GDP=C+I+G+(X-M)
Annual $ (trillions)$16.9=$11.5+$2.7+$3.1+$-0.5
% of GDP100.0%=68.2%+16.2%+18.6%+-3.0%
Contribution to GDP Growth %4.12%=1.35%+2.56%+0.08%+0.13%


The quarter-to-quarter changes in the contributions that various components make to the overall GDP can be best understood from the table below, which breaks out the component contributions in more detail and over time. In the table below we have split the "C" component into goods and services, split the "I" component into fixed investment and inventories, separated exports from imports, added a line for the BEA's "Real Final Sales of Domestic Product" and listed the quarters in columns with the most current to the left:

Quarterly Changes in % Contributions to GDP

3Q-20132Q-20131Q-20134Q-20123Q-20122Q-20121Q-20124Q-20113Q-20112Q-20111Q-20114Q-20103Q-20102Q-20101Q-2010
Total GDP Growth4.12%2.48%1.14%0.14%2.78%1.20%3.71%4.86%1.37%3.19%-1.29%2.80%2.78%3.91%1.59%
Consumer Goods1.03%0.71%0.85%0.85%0.84%0.50%1.04%1.14%0.29%0.05%0.60%1.66%0.85%1.14%0.88%
Consumer Services0.32%0.53%0.69%0.29%0.31%0.78%0.94%0.51%1.14%0.98%0.81%1.21%1.02%1.07%0.54%
Fixed Investment0.89%0.96%-0.23%1.63%0.39%0.68%1.21%1.39%1.96%1.16%-0.05%1.13%-0.04%1.77%0.11%
Inventories1.67%0.41%0.93%-2.00%0.60%-0.91%0.36%2.73%-1.60%0.72%-1.06%-1.64%1.90%1.09%1.66%
Government0.08%-0.07%-0.82%-1.31%0.67%0.05%-0.28%-0.31%-0.52%-0.25%-1.61%-0.87%-0.07%0.61%-0.63%
Exports0.52%1.04%-0.18%0.15%0.05%0.51%0.56%0.38%0.92%0.64%0.48%1.47%1.27%1.10%0.73%
Imports-0.39%-1.10%-0.10%0.53%-0.08%-0.41%-0.12%-0.98%-0.82%-0.11%-0.46%-0.15%-2.15%-2.87%-1.70%
Real Final Sales2.45%2.07%0.21%2.14%2.18%2.11%3.35%2.13%2.97%2.47%-0.23%4.44%0.88%2.82%-0.07%





Summary

For the past two months we have wondered how the BEA's latest growth estimates might impact the Federal Reserve's stance on monetary policy -- and particularly the duration and size of QE. At face value the new headline growth rate of 4.12% qualifies as "healthy economic growth," and places the US among the fastest growing developed countries. In fact, a growth rate above 4% would argue for far more than a modest $10 billion per month taper -- if not a return to more historically normal interest rates.

Then why such a modest monetary response?

The Federal Reserve clearly understands that the headline 4.12% is neither real nor sustainable:

-- The vast majority of the economy (consumer spending -- nearly 70% of GDP) was growing at a paltry 1.35%.

-- Over 40% of the headline number came from growing inventories. Conventional wisdom has this component reversing itself in future quarters -- reverting to a long term net zero gain or loss. In fact, since 2006 the average annualized real contribution from inventories has been essentially zero (-0.02%). Bloated inventories have a tendency to normalize, and in coming quarters we can expect production cuts to accomplish just that.

-- Employment numbers, while technically improving, are still weak by historic "full employment" standards. And it is increasingly obvious that the modest improvement in the unemployment numbers is an artifact of a major deformation of the work force -- with fewer people choosing to look for work and more being forced to accept multiple part time jobs.

-- Real per capita disposable income is still down -0.85% year-to-date. And if households continue to normalize their savings rates over the next few quarters (just as they have over the past two quarters while attempting to move back towards the savings level "comfort zone" seen prior to the January FICA increase), those increased savings will have to come from reduced spending.

-- The aggregate numbers continue to mask an ongoing shift in income distribution: although the average per capita income data has grown some 3.3% since October 2008 (per the BEA), the median household income has shrunk some 7% over that same time span (per Sentier Research). Thus whatever growth the BEA is reporting is not likely to shared by the vast majority of the electorate.

Arguably, the "healthy economic growth" implied in the 4.12% headline growth rate might be considered a tad delusional. And apparently the Federal Reserve knows that only too well.
 
   
   
 December 5, 2013 - BEA Revises 3rd Quarter 2013 GDP Growth Sharply Upward to 3.60% Annual Rate:

In their second estimate of the US GDP for the third quarter of 2013, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported that the economy was growing at a 3.60% annualized rate, up a surprising 0.76% from the 2.84% growth rate previously reported for the quarter. The improvement in the headline growth number came principally from growing inventories (now contributing 1.68% to the headline, up 0.85% from the earlier report) and fixed investment (adding another 0.81% to the headline, an increase of 0.18% from the prior report). The contribution from consumers was reported to be weakening slightly, as were exports. Increasing imports also lowered the headline number somewhat (removing -0.43% from the headline, a change of -0.13 from last month's estimate). And the BEA's own "bottom line" growth rate for the economy (the "real final sales of domestic product") weakened to a 1.92% annualized growth rate.

For this report the BEA assumed annualized net aggregate inflation of 1.96%. This deflator is reasonably close to those recorded by its sister agencies within the US Government. During the third quarter (i.e., from June to September) the seasonally adjusted CPI-U index published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) rose by 1.73% (annualized), and the price index published by the Billion Prices Project (BPP) rose at an annualized rate of 1.72%. As a reminder: an overstatement of assumed inflation decreases the reported headline number -- and in this case the BEA's "deflator" slightly lowered the published headline rate. If the CPI-U had been used to convert the "nominal" GDP numbers into "real" numbers, the reported headline growth rate would have been a somewhat higher +3.90%, while using the BPP index (which arguably best reflects the experiences of the American consumer) would have generated an even higher +3.92% annualized rate.

Finally, real annualized per capita disposable income was now reported to have risen by $196 per year and the personal savings rate increased to 5.0% (from 4.7% reported earlier). That savings rate had taken a 2.5% hit (a 38% reduction in the savings rate) during the first quarter as households struggled to absorb the 2% increase in FICA tax rates. The savings rate has now recovered more than a third of those first quarter cutbacks -- with the funding of those savings coming mostly through weaker growth in household expenditures.

Among the notable items in the report:

-- The contribution of consumer expenditures for goods to the headline number decreased to 0.93% (down from 0.99% in the prior report).

-- The contribution made by consumer services dropped to 0.02% (down slightly from 0.05% previously reported, but off sharply from 0.53% in the prior quarter). Growth in the consumer services sector has clearly stagnated.

-- The growth rate contribution from private fixed investments strengthened to 0.81% (up from the 0.63% previously reported, but still down from 0.96% in the prior quarter).

-- Inventories were shown as growing much faster than previously thought, and they are now contributing +1.68% to the headline growth rate (more than four times the +0.41% contribution during the prior quarter).

-- A growth in net governmental expenditures added 0.09% to the headline number, with that growth occurring exclusively at state and local levels.

-- Exports contributed 0.50% to the overall growth rate, down slightly from the 0.60% previously reported -- and down materially from the 1.04% reported for the second quarter.

-- And imports now subtracted -0.43% from the headline number (compared to -1.10% during the prior quarter).

-- The annualized growth rate for the "real final sales of domestic product" decreased again to 1.92% (down from 2.07% in the previous quarter). This is the BEA's "bottom line" measurement of the economy -- which remains substantially weaker than the headline number because of the ongoing buildup of inventories.

-- And as mentioned above, real per-capita disposable income improved slightly and it is now reported to have increased by an annualized $196 from quarter to quarter. But that number is still down $321 per year relative to the fourth quarter of 2012 (before the FICA rates normalized).




The Numbers

As a quick reminder, the classic definition of the GDP can be summarized with the following equation:

GDP = private consumption + gross private investment + government spending + (exports - imports)


or, as it is commonly expressed in algebraic shorthand:

GDP = C + I + G + (X-M)


In the new report the values for that equation (total dollars, percentage of the total GDP, and contribution to the final percentage growth number) are as follows:

GDP Components Table

Total GDP=C+I+G+(X-M)
Annual $ (trillions)$16.9=$11.5+$2.7+$3.1+$-0.5
% of GDP100.0%=68.2%+16.2%+18.6%+-3.0%
Contribution to GDP Growth %3.60%=0.95%+2.49%+0.09%+0.07%


The quarter-to-quarter changes in the contributions that various components make to the overall GDP can be best understood from the table below, which breaks out the component contributions in more detail and over time. In the table below we have split the "C" component into goods and services, split the "I" component into fixed investment and inventories, separated exports from imports, added a line for the BEA's "Real Final Sales of Domestic Product" and listed the quarters in columns with the most current to the left:

Quarterly Changes in % Contributions to GDP

3Q-20132Q-20131Q-20134Q-20123Q-20122Q-20121Q-20124Q-20113Q-20112Q-20111Q-20114Q-20103Q-20102Q-20101Q-2010
Total GDP Growth3.60%2.48%1.14%0.14%2.78%1.20%3.71%4.86%1.37%3.19%-1.29%2.80%2.78%3.91%1.59%
Consumer Goods0.93%0.71%0.85%0.85%0.84%0.50%1.04%1.14%0.29%0.05%0.60%1.66%0.85%1.14%0.88%
Consumer Services0.02%0.53%0.69%0.29%0.31%0.78%0.94%0.51%1.14%0.98%0.81%1.21%1.02%1.07%0.54%
Fixed Investment0.81%0.96%-0.23%1.63%0.39%0.68%1.21%1.39%1.96%1.16%-0.05%1.13%-0.04%1.77%0.11%
Inventories1.68%0.41%0.93%-2.00%0.60%-0.91%0.36%2.73%-1.60%0.72%-1.06%-1.64%1.90%1.09%1.66%
Government0.09%-0.07%-0.82%-1.31%0.67%0.05%-0.28%-0.31%-0.52%-0.25%-1.61%-0.87%-0.07%0.61%-0.63%
Exports0.50%1.04%-0.18%0.15%0.05%0.51%0.56%0.38%0.92%0.64%0.48%1.47%1.27%1.10%0.73%
Imports-0.43%-1.10%-0.10%0.53%-0.08%-0.41%-0.12%-0.98%-0.82%-0.11%-0.46%-0.15%-2.15%-2.87%-1.70%
Real Final Sales1.92%2.07%0.21%2.14%2.18%2.11%3.35%2.13%2.97%2.47%-0.23%4.44%0.88%2.82%-0.07%





Summary

Last month we mentioned that the BEA's earlier first estimate for 3Q-2013 (a 2.84% headline) was a "Goldilocks" moment: not so weak as to elicit real concern, and not so strong as to suggest the Federal Reserve re-thinking its QE stance. But at face value the new headline growth rate of 3.60% has arguably moved out of that "Goldilocks" zone -- and if the Fed was looking for "cover" for tapering, a growth rate above 3.5% would certainly qualify. In fact, under normal circumstances a 3.60% growth rate would indicate a healthy economy and be sufficient cause to start dismantling an extended "Zero Interest Rate Policy" (ZIRP). But these are not normal circumstances:

-- Nearly half of the headline number came from growing inventories. Conventional wisdom has this component reversing itself in future quarters -- reverting to a long term net zero gain or loss. In fact, since 2006 the average annualized real contribution from inventories has been essentially zero (-0.02%). Bloated inventories have a tendency to normalize, and in coming quarters we can expect production cuts to accomplish just that. If during the next quarter the inventory number reversed while everything else stayed the same, the headline number would be less than 0.25%.

-- Employment numbers still provide no "cover" for Fed tapering or tightening.

-- Contributions to the headline number from consumer spending on goods, consumer spending on services and exports all weakened.

-- Real per capita disposable income is still down -0.86% year-to-date. And if households continue to normalize their savings rates over the next few quarters (just as they have over the past two quarters while attempting to move back towards the savings level "comfort zone" seen prior to the January FICA increase), those increased savings will have to come from reduced spending.

In theory the employment numbers and disposable income tell us how households are doing. Those numbers alone tell us that households are not doing well, and the consumer spending numbers just released by the BEA confirm that households are adjusting accordingly. And the BEA's average real per capita disposable income somewhat masks any impact from a shifting distribution of that disposable income among households -- i.e., the median year-to-date real per capita disposable income is almost certainly down more than the one percent shown in the average.

Unfortunately the inventory surge gives a "smoke and mirrors" feel to this report. Even the BEA's own bottom-line "Real Final Sales of Domestic Product" indicates that real growth is less than 2%. But we're guessing that Mr. Bernanke and his colleagues know that -- giving QE and ZIRP yet another lease on life.
 
   


Historical Commentary in PDF Format


 Commentary DateCommentary Title 
 2014-03-27March 27, 2014 - BEA Revises 4th Quarter 2013 GDP Growth Up Slightly To A 2.64% Annual Rate 
 2014-02-28February 28, 2014 - BEA Revises 4th Quarter 2013 GDP Growth Down to 2.37% Annual Rate 
 2014-01-30January 30, 2014 - BEA Estimates 4th Quarter 2013 GDP Growth at 3.22% Annual Rate, Down Modestly from 3rd Quarter 
 2013-12-20December 20, 2013 - BEA Revises 3rd Quarter 2013 GDP Growth Upward Again to 4.12% Annual Rate 
 2013-12-05December 5, 2013 - BEA Revises 3rd Quarter 2013 GDP Growth Sharply Upward to 3.60% Annual Rate 
 2013-11-07November 7, 2013 - BEA Estimates 3rd Quarter 2013 GDP Growth at 2.84% Annual Rate 
 2013-09-26September 26, 2013 - BEA Leaves 2nd Quarter 2013 GDP Growth Mostly Unchanged At 2.48% Annual Rate 
 2013-08-29August 29, 2013 - BEA Revises 2nd Quarter 2013 GDP Growth Upward To 2.52% Annual Rate 
 2013-07-31July 31, 2013 - BEA Estimates 2nd Quarter 2013 GDP Growth At 1.68% Annual Rate, While Revising 1st Quarter Sharply Downward 
 2013-06-26June 26, 2013 - BEA Revises 1st Quarter 2013 GDP Growth Downward To 1.78% Annual Rate 
 2013-05-30May 30, 2013 - BEA Revises 1st Quarter 2013 GDP Growth Down Slightly To 2.38% Annual Rate 
 2013-04-26April 26, 2013 - BEA Estimates 1st Quarter 2013 GDP Growing at 2.5% Annual Rate 
 2013-03-28March 28, 2013 - BEA Revises 4th Quarter 2012 GDP Upward to a 0.38% Annual Growth Rate 
 2013-03-19March 19, 2013 - Looking Back and Projecting Forward 
 2013-02-28February 28, 2013 - BEA Revises 4th Quarter 2012 GDP Upward to a 0.14% Annual Growth Rate 
 2013-01-30January 30, 2013 - BEA Reports 4th Quarter 2012 GDP Contracting at -0.14% Annual Rate 
 2013-01-03January 3, 2013 - A Final Review of 2012 Holiday Shopping Season 
 2012-12-20December 20, 2012 - BEA Raises 3rd Quarter 2012 GDP Growth Estimate Once Again to 3.09% 
 2012-12-19December 19, 2012 - Updated Charts and Holiday Consumer Activities Revisited 
 2012-11-29November 29, 2012 - BEA Raises 3rd Quarter 2012 GDP Growth Estimate to 2.67% 
 2012-11-26November 26, 2012 - Quick Update on the Impact of Super-Storm Sandy and the Electoral Blues 
 2012-11-05November 5, 2012 - Sandy and the Pre-Election Blues 
 2012-10-26October 26, 2012 - BEA Reports 3rd Quarter 2012 GDP Growth at 2.02% 
 2012-10-23October 23, 2012 - 3rd Quarter GDP Preview and Chart Updates 
 2012-09-27September 27, 2012 - BEA Revises Annualized GDP Growth Downward to 1.26% 
 2012-08-29August 29, 2012 - BEA Revises Estimate of Annualized GDP Growth to 1.73% 
 2012-08-14August 14, 2012 - Our Weighted Composite Index Continues to Plunge 
 2012-07-27July 27, 2012 - BEA Estimates GDP Grew at 1.54% Rate During 2nd Quarter 
 2012-07-20July 20, 2012 - The Economic Cost of Ugly Politics 
 2012-06-28June 28, 2012 - BEA Leaves GDP Growth Rate Unchanged for 1Q-2012 at 1.88% 
 2012-06-19June 19, 2012 - Commentary and Chart Updates 
 2012-05-31May 31, 2012 - BEA Revises GDP Growth Rate for 1Q-2012 Down to 1.88% 
 2012-05-09May 9, 2012 - Chart Updates and Commentary 
 2012-04-27April 27, 2012 - BEA Report Shows GDP Growth Slowing During 1Q-2012 to 2.20% 
 2012-03-29March 29, 2012 - BEA Leaves 4Q-2011 Annualized GDP Growth Essentially Unchanged at 2.97% 
 2012-02-29February 29, 2012 - BEA Revises 4Q-2011 Annualized GDP Growth to 2.98% 
 2012-01-27January 27, 2012 - Headline 4Q-2011 GDP Growth of 2.75% Masks Mixed Signals 
 2012-01-19January 19, 2012 - Taking a Closer Look at Mixed Signals 
 2011-12-22December 22, 2011 - Third Quarter GDP Revised Downward Yet Again 
 2011-11-22November 22, 2011 - Third Quarter GDP Revised Downward 
 2011-11-11November 11, 2011 - Absolute Demand Index Plummets as Disposable Income Contracts 
 2011-10-27October 27, 2011 - GDP Improves Dramatically 
 2011-10-12October 12, 2011 - What's Going On? 
 2011-09-29September 29, 2011 - BEA Adjusts Second Quarter GDP Growth Rate Upward 
 2011-09-27September 27, 2011 - Chart Updates 
 2011-09-16September 16, 2011 - Data Update and the Sticky Jobs Situation 
 2011-09-09September 9, 2011 - Persistent Questions 
 2011-08-30August 30, 2011 - Has the BEA Already Documented the Second Dip? 
 2011-08-26August 26, 2011 - BEA Lowers Second Quarter GDP Growth Rate to Below 1% 
 2011-08-24August 24, 2011 - Update on Our Indexes 
 2011-08-15August 15, 2011 - Daily Growth Index Surge Continues; But Why? 
 2011-08-05August 5, 2011 - Special Update: Daily Growth Index Breaks Positive 
 2011-08-04August 4, 2011 - The BEA Revisions Revisited 
 2011-08-02August 2, 2011 - New Index & Housing Data 
 2011-07-29July 29, 2011 - BEA Reports 1Q-2011 and "Great Recession" Far Worse Than We Were Previously Told 
 2011-07-23July 23, 2011 - Unexpected Extremes & Mussolini Revisited 
 2011-07-16July 16, 2011 - Weighted Composite Index Continues to Strengthen 
 2011-07-09July 9, 2011 - Continuing Contraction Moderation; Shakespeare's Stimulating Idea 
 2011-07-02July 2, 2011 - Upturn in Daily Growth Index; Stimulating Despite Demographic Dilemmas 
 2011-06-24June 24, 2011 - The BEA's Third (and "Final") Estimate of First Quarter 2011 GDP 
 2011-06-21June 21, 2011 - Updating the Impact of Strategic Defaults 
 2011-06-15June 15, 2011 - Keeping Perspective and Strangulation by Regulation 
 2011-06-05June 5, 2011 - Bottom Bouncing and Scholarly Debt End-Games 
 2011-05-26May 26, 2011 - The BEA's Second Estimate of First Quarter 2011 GDP 
 2011-05-20May 20, 2011 - A Pause in the Ongoing Contraction; Incorporating Debt/GDP End-Games 
 2011-05-14May 14, 2011 - Continued Weakness in Consumer Demand; Unthinkable De-Financialization 
 2011-05-05May 5, 2011 - Resumed Downturns, Retail Sales and Consumer Confidence 
 2011-04-29April 29, 2011 - Bottoming at New Record Lows, Plus Debt/GDP End-Games via Insurrection 
 2011-04-28April 28, 2011 - The BEA's Advance Estimate of First Quarter 2011 GDP 
 2011-04-21April 21, 2011 - Making Sense of Our Indices, Plus Regime Changing Debt/GDP End-Games 
 2011-04-16April 16, 2011 - New Records and "Unthinkable" Sovereign Debt End-Games 
 2011-04-12April 12, 2011 - Updated Charts and Mr. Bernanke's Dilemma 
 2011-04-10April 10, 2011 - Retail Sales and Credit Expansions 
 2011-04-05April 5, 2011 - Automotive Euphoria; Sovereign Debt End-Games 
 2011-03-31March 31, 2011 - Continued Weakness; Divergences Revisited 
 2011-03-25March 25, 2011 - The BEA's Third Estimate of Fourth Quarter 2010 GDP 
 2011-03-23March 23, 2011 - Data Update; Sendai and Japan's Wealth -vs- GDP 
 2011-03-22March 22, 2011 - News and the Consumer, Reflections on Chernobyl and the Economy 
 2011-03-19March 19, 2011 - News and the Consumer, Bad Instruments and Chernobyl 
 2011-03-13March 13, 2011 - Glaring Disconnects and Tsunami Riding Black Swans 
 2011-02-25February 25, 2011 - Inside the BEA's New Lower Estimate of 4Q-2010 GDP Growth 
 2011-02-23February 23, 2011 - Recent Downturns in Our Indexes & the Fallacy Revisited 
 2011-02-16February 16, 2011 - Our Current Outlook and Bastiat's Broken Window 
 2011-02-09February 9, 2011 - An Update Plus Mid February Odds and Ends 
 2011-02-07February 7, 2011 - Measuring the Impact of "Strategic Defaults" and Mortgage Delinquencies on Consumer Spending 
 2011-02-02February 2, 2011 - Answering More Questions about the Q4-2010 GDP Report (Ad Nauseam) 
 2011-01-30January 30, 2011 - More Thoughts on the BEA's "Advance Estimate" for 4Q-2010 
 2011-01-29January 29, 2011 - What the BEA's Advance Estimate of Fourth Quarter 2010 GDP Was Really Telling Us 
 2011-01-12January 12, 2011 - Reflecting Back on 2010 
 2011-01-10January 10, 2011 - Lessons from 2010 
 2010-12-29December 29, 2010 - Looking Back at Holiday Sales and the BEA's Third Estimate for Q3-2010 
 2010-12-14December 14, 2010 - Feeding the Holiday Sales Frenzy While Maintaining Perspective 
 2010-12-07December 7, 2010 - Retail Updates, The Full Economy & GDP Revisited 
 2010-12-01December 1, 2010 - "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" 
 2010-11-23November 23, 2010 - First Revision to the Third Quarter GDP 
 2010-11-22November 22, 2010 - Continued Modest Improvements in Our Weighted Composite Index 
 2010-11-14November 14, 2010 - What Does the Bottom in the Daily Growth Index Mean? 
 2010-11-09November 9, 2010 - Daily Growth Index Shows Signs of Bottom Forming 
 2010-11-07November 7, 2010 - Revisiting the Character of the "Great Recession" 
 2010-10-31October 31, 2010 - The End of Political "FUD" Approaches 
 2010-10-29October 29, 2010 - Inside the Third Quarter GDP Release 
 2010-10-25October 25, 2010 - Current Contraction Surpasses "Great Recession" 
 2010-10-24October 24, 2010 - The U.S. Census Bureau's Retail Sales Report 
 2010-10-17October 17, 2010 - Political "FUD" and the Consumer Psyche 
 2010-10-10October 10, 2010 - Daily Growth Index Sets Record Low and Duration Marks 
 2010-10-05October 5, 2010 - Inside the September GDP Revisions 
 2010-10-03October 3, 2010 - Weakening Weighted Composite Pulls Daily Growth Index to All-Time Low 
 2010-09-26September 26, 2010 - The Diverging GDP 
 2010-09-22September 22, 2010 - NBER: Double Dip or Banana Split? 
 2010-09-20September 20, 2010 - Thoughts on the Recent "Bottom" in our Weighted Composite Index 
 2010-09-18September 18, 2010 - Has the Bottom Been Reached? 
 2010-09-11September 11, 2010 - The Big Scoop and Housing 
 2010-09-02September 2, 2010 - Autos, Personal Finance, and Refinancing 
 2010-09-01September 1, 2010 - Viewing the "Great Recession" in Hi-Def 
 2010-08-30August 30, 2010 - Taking a Closer Look at the "Great Recession" 
 2010-08-28August 28, 2010 - Inside the BEA's Latest GDP Numbers 
 2010-08-22August 22, 2010 - 75 Days of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt 
 2010-08-20August 20, 2010 - Politics and the Economy; Cause and Effect 


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Consumer Metrics Institute Presentation Series:
Economic Data for the 21st Century - Part 1 (Duration 7:35)
 
Economic Data for the 21st Century - Part 2 (Duration 11:35)
 

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