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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:02/201403/201404/201405/201406/201407/201408/201409/201410/201411/2014
Value:93.9093.3194.2093.8793.4995.7897.1496.9695.4897.56


Daily Growth Index Past 60 Days


 Daily Growth Index Past 60 Days(1): 
 
Chart
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 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- BPP Deflated "Nominal" GDP, Past 4 Years


 BEA "Real" GDP -vs- BPP Deflated "Nominal" GDP, Past 4 Years(3,4): 
 
Chart
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 Notes:
  (3) In the blue line above the BEA's nominal GDP has been deflated using the inflation rate measured by the Billion Prices Project (BPP) index.
  (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
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 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
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 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


     
  November 25, 2014 - BEA Revises 3rd Quarter 2014 GDP Growth Upwards to 3.89% Annualized Rate:

In their second estimate of the US GDP for the third quarter of 2014, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported that the economy was growing at a +3.89% annualized rate, up +0.35% from their first estimate for the 3rd quarter but still down some -0.70% from the 4.59% annualized growth rate registered during the second quarter.

The modest improvement in the headline number masks substantial changes in the reported sources of the annualized growth. The previously reported significant inventory draw-down almost vanished completely (dropping to a mere -0.12% impact on the headline number). Improving fixed investments added +0.23% to the headline, with nearly all of that improvement from spending for commercial equipment. Consumer spending for goods was also reported to be growing about a quarter of a percent faster (+0.27%) in this report, while consumer spending for services was essentially unchanged (+0.02%).

Offsetting those upside revisions was a significant erosion in the previously reported export growth, which subtracted -0.38% from the headline. The contribution from imports in the headline number also weakened, taking the annualized growth down another -0.17%. Governmental spending was also revised down slightly, knocking another -0.07% from the headline. Nearly all of that downward revision to governmental spending was from reduced state and local investment in infrastructure.

Despite the increased consumer spending, households actually took a disposable income hit in this revision -- losing $146 in annualized per capita disposable income (now reported to be $37,525 per annum). This is down $344 per year from the 4th quarter of 2012. The spending growth reported above came exclusively from reduced household savings, which dropped a full half percent in this report.

As mentioned last month, softening energy prices play a major role in this report, since during the 3rd quarter dollar-based energy prices were plunging (and have continued their dive since). US "at the pump" gasoline prices fell from $3.68 per gallon to $3.32 during the quarter, a 9.8% quarter-to-quarter decline and a -33.8% annualized rate -- pushing most consumer oriented inflation indexes into negative territory. During the third quarter (i.e., from July through September) the seasonally adjusted CPI-U index published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was actually mildly dis-inflationary at a -0.10% (annualized) rate, and the price index reported by the Billion Prices Project (BPP -- which arguably reflected the real experiences of American households) was slightly more dis-inflationary at -0.18% (annualized).

Yet for this report the BEA effectively assumed a positive annualized quarterly inflation of 1.40%. Over reported inflation will result in a more pessimistic growth data, and if the BEA's numbers were corrected for inflation using the appropriate BLS CPI-U and PPI indexes the economy would be reported to be growing at a spectacular 5.42% annualized rate. If we were to use just the BPP data to adjust for inflation, the quarter's growth rate would have been an astounding 5.52% annualized rate.

Among the notable items in the report :

-- The headline contribution of consumer expenditures for goods was 0.97% (up +0.27% from the previous estimate, but down -0.36% from the prior quarter).

-- The contribution made by consumer services spending increased to 0.54% (up +0.02 from the previous report and +0.12% from the 0.42% reported last quarter). The combined consumer contribution to the headline number by consumers was 1.51%, down -0.24% from the prior quarter.

-- Commercial private fixed investments provided +0.97% of the headline number (down -0.48% from the 1.45% in the 2nd quarter), and this continued positive growth is nearly all non-residential.

-- Inventories subtracted only -0.12% from the headline number (up +0.45% from the -0.57% previously reported).

-- Governmental spending added +0.76% to the headline. The improvement was nearly all at a Federal level, in spending on "consumption expenditures". The growth of state and local spending softened -0.29% relative to the 2nd quarter. The growth in Federal spending was likely spending pulled forward from the 4th quarter as a result of fiscal year-end budgetary maneuvers -- and is therefore also likely to reverse in 4Q-2014.

-- Exports are now reported to be adding 0.65% to the headline growth rate (down -0.38% from the first estimate and -0.78% from the second quarter).

-- Imports added +0.12% to the headline number (down -0.17% from the previous estimate, but up +1.89% from the prior quarter). The combined revisions in the foreign trade data removed over a half percent from the previous estimate's headline.

-- The annualized growth rate for the "real final sales of domestic product" is now reported to be 4.01% (down -0.10% from the previous report). This is the BEA's "bottom line" measurement of the economy, and it is slightly higher than the headline number because of the mildly shrinking inventories.

-- And as mentioned above, real per-capita annual disposable income was revised downward by $146 per year, halving the previously reported quarter-to-quarter increase. The new number represents an annualized growth rate of 1.56%. Real disposable income is still down a material -$344 per year from the fourth quarter of 2012 (before the FICA rates normalized) and it is up only 2.31% in total since the second quarter of 2008 -- a miserable 0.37% annualized growth rate over the past 6 and a quarter years.




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) $17.6 = $12.0 + $2.9 + $3.2 + $-0.5
% of GDP 100.0% = 68.2% + 16.5% + 18.3% + -2.9%
Contribution to GDP Growth % 3.89% = 1.51% + 0.85% + 0.76% + 0.77%


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-2014 2Q-2014 1Q-2014 4Q-2013 3Q-2013 2Q-2013 1Q-2013 4Q-2012 3Q-2012 2Q-2012 1Q-2012 4Q-2011 3Q-2011 2Q-2011 1Q-2011
Total GDP Growth 3.89% 4.59% -2.11% 3.50% 4.51% 1.77% 2.75% 0.06% 2.48% 1.62% 2.25% 4.59% 0.84% 2.94% -1.53%
Consumer Goods 0.97% 1.33% 0.23% 0.83% 0.80% 0.30% 1.35% 0.67% 0.74% 0.29% 1.06% 0.90% 0.20% -0.18% 0.66%
Consumer Services 0.54% 0.42% 0.60% 1.69% 0.59% 0.93% 1.11% 0.65% 0.58% 0.57% 0.81% 0.04% 1.00% 0.75% 0.72%
Fixed Investment 0.97% 1.45% 0.03% 0.95% 1.01% 0.74% 0.42% 0.96% 0.45% 0.61% 1.24% 1.36% 2.25% 1.10% -0.11%
Inventories -0.12% 1.42% -1.16% -0.34% 1.49% 0.30% 0.70% -1.80% -0.19% 0.27% -0.20% 2.80% -2.10% 1.04% -0.96%
Government 0.76% 0.31% -0.15% -0.71% 0.04% 0.04% -0.75% -1.20% 0.52% -0.08% -0.56% -0.31% -0.52% -0.08% -1.60%
Exports 0.65% 1.43% -1.30% 1.30% 0.67% 0.82% -0.12% 0.19% 0.28% 0.64% 0.19% 0.56% 0.57% 0.82% 0.27%
Imports 0.12% -1.77% -0.36% -0.22% -0.09% -1.36% 0.04% 0.59% 0.10% -0.68% -0.29% -0.76% -0.56% -0.51% -0.51%
Real Final Sales 4.01% 3.17% -0.95% 3.84% 3.02% 1.47% 2.05% 1.86% 2.67% 1.35% 2.45% 1.79% 2.94% 1.90% -0.57%





Summary and Commentary

There are a number of pros and cons in this revision:

-- As mentioned last month, at face value these kinds of growth numbers arguably strengthen the Fed's rationale to extricate itself from unconventional forms of stimulus. An economy that is reported to be growing at 3.89% is presumably healthy enough to need very little additional help from central banking officials.

-- Rapidly changing dollar-based commodity prices (and more specifically energy prices) are likely playing havoc with both the BEA's inventory and net import/export data, both of which changed materially in this revision. While one might expect inventories to be valued exclusively using some variation of book-value FIFO accounting logic, they are in fact additionally impacted by an "inventory valuation adjustment" (or "IVA") that utilizes price changes from a "Fisher formula" (that according to the BEA's notes "incorporates weights from two adjacent quarters; quarterly indexes are adjusted for consistency to the annual indexes before percent changes are calculated") when converting inventory values from "nominal" to "real". For this reason rapidly changing dollar based price levels can cause "real" inventories and net import/export data to fluctuate even if physical quantities remain relatively constant -- providing temporary "noise" that duly reverses in subsequent quarters.

-- From a global perspective, this reported growth is extraordinary. Again at face value, this report shows an economy isolated (if not benefiting through falling dollar-based commodity prices) from softening global economies.

-- That said, consumers are not spending as if the US economy is healthy and sustainable. Consumers generated well less than half of the headline growth even though they are still over two-thirds of the economy. And half of the previously reported growth in real per-capita disposable income vanished in this revision -- explaining to some extent why consumers have remained wary.

-- The impact of falling energy prices will certainly carry forward into the fourth quarter. The $.36 per gallon drop in "at-the-pump" prices for gasoline during the 3rd quarter alone should have freed up over $50 billion in annualized consumer cash -- transforming it from non-discretionary spending into leftover "pocket money." And since September 30th gasoline prices have dropped another $.52, adding an additional $73 billion annualized to those pockets. Total aggregate discretionary pocket cash available to households in the 4th quarter could amount to as much as 3% of total annualized consumer goods spending.

-- What then happens to that free cash is critical to the economy. If consumers are in a mood to spend, the money will flow into record discretionary holiday sales -- even if from a GDP standpoint that incremental holiday spending is actually a zero sum exercise (savings at the non-discretionary pump simply transferred into much hyped discretionary holiday retail sales). But the kicker is simply this: if consumers remain wary, net savings could increase even further and total consumer spending (discretionary and non-discretionary) might actually decrease.

We are likely living an ancient Chinese curse: the fourth quarter should, at the very least, be "interesting."
 
     
     
  October 30, 2014 - BEA Estimates 3rd Quarter 2014 GDP Growth at 3.54% Annualized Rate:

In their first estimate of the US GDP for the third quarter of 2014, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported that the economy was growing at a +3.54% annualized rate, down a little more than a percent from the second quarter.

"Improving" imports and government spending are the stars of this report. Imports swung into positive territory with a +0.29% contribution to the headline number, up +2.06% from the prior quarter. Similarly, governmental spending contributed +0.83% to the headline, up over a half percent from the 2nd quarter (with Federal defense "consumption expenditures" creating a +0.76% boost to the headline number all by itself even as growth in state and local spending softened). Essentially all of the other line items were either flat or had a negative quarter-to-quarter impact on the headline. Inventories (as expected) reverted to mean and took -0.57% out of the headline. Commercial fixed investments grew at about half the rate reported during the prior quarter, the growth in exports lost about a third, the growth rate for consumer spending on goods was halved, and although consumer spending on services did increase, the increase was a relatively mild +0.10%.

Some good news: real annualized per-capita disposable income was reported to be $37,671 -- up $177 per year from the prior quarter (although still down $198 from the 4th quarter of 2012). Again a significant portion of that increased disposable income went into savings, with the savings rate increasing to 5.5% -- once more the highest savings level since 4Q-2012.

Inflation (or disinflation/deflation) plays a major part in this report, since during the quarter dollar-based energy prices were plunging. US "at the pump" gasoline prices fell from $3.68 per gallon to $3.32 during the quarter, a 9.8% quarter-to-quarter decline and a -33.8% annualized rate -- pushing most consumer oriented inflation indexes into negative territory. During the third quarter (i.e., from July through September) the seasonally adjusted CPI-U index published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was actually mildly deflationary at a -0.10% (annualized) rate, and the price index reported by the Billion Prices Project (BPP -- which arguably reflected the real experiences of American households) was slightly more deflationary at -0.18% (annualized).

Yet for this report the BEA effectively assumed a positive annualized quarterly inflation of 1.28%. Over reported inflation will result in a more pessimistic growth data, and if the BEA's numbers were corrected for inflation using the BLS CPI-U the economy would be reported to be growing at a spectacular 4.97% annualized rate. If we were to use the BPP data to adjust for inflation, the quarter's growth rate would have been an astounding 5.07% annualized rate.

Among the notable items in the report :

-- The headline contribution of consumer expenditures for goods was 0.70% (down -0.63% from the prior quarter).

-- The contribution made by consumer services spending increased to 0.52% (up +0.10% from the 0.42% reported last quarter). The combined contribution to the headline number by consumers was 1.22%, down -0.53% from the prior quarter.

-- Commercial private fixed investments provided +0.74% of the headline number (down -0.71% from the 1.45% in the 2nd quarter), and this continued positive growth continues to be almost exclusively in non-residential construction.

-- Inventories subtracted -0.57% from the headline number (down -1.99% from the +1.42% reported for the second quarter).

-- Governmental spending was up +0.52%, now adding 0.83% to the headline. The improvement was all at a Federal level, in spending on "consumption expenditures". The growth of state and local spending softened -0.23% relative to the 2nd quarter.

-- Exports are now reported to be adding 1.03% to the headline growth rate (down -0.40% from the second quarter).

-- Imports added +0.29 to the headline number (a +2.06% turnaround from the prior quarter). The combined impact of the foreign trade quarter-to-quarter on the headline number was a significant +1.66%.

-- The annualized growth rate for the "real final sales of domestic product" is now reported to be 4.11% (up +0.94% from the earlier quarter). This is the BEA's "bottom line" measurement of the economy, and it is now higher than the headline number because of the shrinking inventories.

-- And as mentioned above, real per-capita annual disposable income was $177 per year higher than during the prior quarter. The new number represents an annualized growth rate of 1.90%. That said, the real disposable income is still down a material -$198 per year from the fourth quarter of 2012 (before the FICA rates normalized) and it is up only 2.71% in total since the second quarter of 2008 -- a miserable 0.43% annualized growth rate over the past 6 and a quarter years.




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) $17.5 = $12.0 + $2.9 + $3.2 + $-0.5
% of GDP 100.0% = 68.2% + 16.3% + 18.3% + -2.8%
Contribution to GDP Growth % 3.54% = 1.22% + 0.17% + 0.83% + 1.32%


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-2014 2Q-2014 1Q-2014 4Q-2013 3Q-2013 2Q-2013 1Q-2013 4Q-2012 3Q-2012 2Q-2012 1Q-2012 4Q-2011 3Q-2011 2Q-2011 1Q-2011
Total GDP Growth 3.54% 4.59% -2.11% 3.50% 4.51% 1.77% 2.75% 0.06% 2.48% 1.62% 2.25% 4.59% 0.84% 2.94% -1.53%
Consumer Goods 0.70% 1.33% 0.23% 0.83% 0.80% 0.30% 1.35% 0.67% 0.74% 0.29% 1.06% 0.90% 0.20% -0.18% 0.66%
Consumer Services 0.52% 0.42% 0.60% 1.69% 0.59% 0.93% 1.11% 0.65% 0.58% 0.57% 0.81% 0.04% 1.00% 0.75% 0.72%
Fixed Investment 0.74% 1.45% 0.03% 0.95% 1.01% 0.74% 0.42% 0.96% 0.45% 0.61% 1.24% 1.36% 2.25% 1.10% -0.11%
Inventories -0.57% 1.42% -1.16% -0.34% 1.49% 0.30% 0.70% -1.80% -0.19% 0.27% -0.20% 2.80% -2.10% 1.04% -0.96%
Government 0.83% 0.31% -0.15% -0.71% 0.04% 0.04% -0.75% -1.20% 0.52% -0.08% -0.56% -0.31% -0.52% -0.08% -1.60%
Exports 1.03% 1.43% -1.30% 1.30% 0.67% 0.82% -0.12% 0.19% 0.28% 0.64% 0.19% 0.56% 0.57% 0.82% 0.27%
Imports 0.29% -1.77% -0.36% -0.22% -0.09% -1.36% 0.04% 0.59% 0.10% -0.68% -0.29% -0.76% -0.56% -0.51% -0.51%
Real Final Sales 4.11% 3.17% -0.95% 3.84% 3.02% 1.47% 2.05% 1.86% 2.67% 1.35% 2.45% 1.79% 2.94% 1.90% -0.57%





Summary and Commentary

Frankly, this report once again sends mixed messages:

-- On the surface it strengthened the Fed's hand for completing the QE taper. An economy that is growing at 3.54% is presumably healthy enough to need very little additional help from central banking officials.

-- That said, consumers are not spending as if the economy is healthy. Consumers generated only 1.22% of that headline growth, and they are still 68.2% of the economy. The growth in real per-capita disposable income is welcomed, but increased savings absorbed a significant portion of that growth. Apparently consumers remain wary.

-- And the inventory worm has turned. It provided +1.42% of last quarter's headline number, and promptly subtracted -0.57% from this quarter's number. As we have mentioned many times, this is a line item that over the long haul has been essentially a zero sum series. If it continues to revert to a long term zero sum we could see at least another quarter of negative contribution.

-- The growth in Federal "consumption expenditures" is an annual end-of-fiscal-year ritual. These are "expenditures" that are solely designed to expend any remaining budget allocations before they vanish at the end of September. In fact, the spending is only pulled forward from the fourth quarter -- when Federal spending "growth" generally reverses. Those more cynical than us might point out that the annual specious Federal "growth" contribution is also conveniently reported just before election days.

-- The wild card in all of this is reflected in the CPI and BPP numbers: the strengthening of the dollar has created an apparent disinflationary pricing environment for some goods that is likely playing havoc with the BEA's computations for inventories, exports and imports. Imports are also certainly being impacted by the double whammy of increased domestic production and crashing oil prices. In any event, the impact of the strength of the dollar is likely masking to some extent what is happening in the underlying "real" economy.

In some regards this report contains far too much noise to be able to tease out any real signals regarding the economy. Unfortunately, that situation is unlikely to improve for some time.
 
     
     
  September 26, 2014 - BEA Revises 2nd Quarter 2014 GDP Growth Up Again to 4.59% Annualized Rate:

In their third estimate of the US GDP for the second quarter of 2014, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported that the economy was growing at a +4.59% annualized rate, up about a half a percent yet again from their previous estimate. When compared to the prior quarter, the new measurement is now up 6.7% from a -2.11% contraction rate for the 1st quarter of 2014. This level of quarter to quarter improvement in GDP growth is truly rare; this is the best since the 2nd quarter of 2000, and the second best since the 2nd quarter of 1982.

The positive revisions to the growth contributions during the 2nd quarter growth were in commercial fixed investments (+0.20%), exports (+0.12%), consumer expenditures (+0.05%), governmental expenditures (+0.04%) and inventories (+0.03%). The only downside revision was to imports (-0.03%). The "real final sales of domestic product" growth improved by about a half percent to +3.17%

Real annualized per-capita disposable income was reported to be $37,494 -- up $13 per year from the previous estimate, but still down $375 from the 4th quarter of 2012. As mentioned last month, a significant portion of that increased disposable income went into savings, with the savings rate increasing to 5.4% -- the highest savings level since 4Q-2012.

For this report the BEA effectively assumed annualized quarterly inflation of 2.15%. During the second quarter (i.e., from April through June) the growth rate of the seasonally adjusted CPI-U index published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was over one and a third percent higher at a 3.53% (annualized) rate, and the price index reported by the Billion Prices Project (BPP -- which arguably reflected the real experiences of American households) was over a half of a percent higher at 2.72%. Under reported inflation will result in overly optimistic growth data, and if the BEA's numbers were corrected for inflation using the BLS CPI-U the economy would be reported to be growing at a 3.31% annualized rate. If we were to use the BPP data to adjust for inflation, the quarter's growth rate would have been 4.12%.

Among the notable items in the report :

-- The headline contribution of consumer expenditures for goods was 1.33% (up +0.03% from the previous report).

-- The contribution made by consumer services spending increased to 0.42% (up +0.02% from the 0.40% reported last month). The combined contribution to the headline number by consumers was 1.75%, up +0.05 from the prior report.

-- Commercial private fixed investments provided 1.45% of the headline number (up +0.20% from the 1.25% in the earlier estimate), and this uptick continues to be mostly in non-residential construction.

-- Inventories growth added 1.42% to the headline number (up +0.03% from the second estimate).

-- Governmental spending was up +0.04%, now adding 0.31% to the headline. The improvement was all at a state and local level, in spending on infrastructure investment.

-- Exports are now reported to be adding 1.43% to the headline growth rate (up +0.12% from last month's estimate).

-- Imports subtracted -1.77% from the headline number (a -0.03% deterioration from the previous report). The combined impact of the foreign trade revisions on the headline number improved by nearly 0.1%.

-- The annualized growth rate for the "real final sales of domestic product" is now reported to be 3.17% (up +0.38% from the earlier estimate). This is the BEA's "bottom line" measurement of the economy, and it is lower than the headline number because of the growing inventories.

-- And as mentioned above, real per-capita annual disposable income was $13 per year higher than previously reported. The revised number represents an annualized growth rate of 3.68%, the highest reported growth rate since the fourth quarter of 2012. That said, the real disposable income is still down a material -$375 per year from that same fourth quarter of 2012 (before the FICA rates normalized) and it is up only 2.23% in total since the second quarter of 2008 -- a miserable 0.37% annualized growth rate over the past 6 years.




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) $17.3 = $11.9 + $2.8 + $3.2 + $-0.5
% of GDP 100.0% = 68.5% + 16.4% + 18.3% + -3.2%
Contribution to GDP Growth % 4.59% = 1.75% + 2.87% + 0.31% + -0.34%


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

2Q-2014 1Q-2014 4Q-2013 3Q-2013 2Q-2013 1Q-2013 4Q-2012 3Q-2012 2Q-2012 1Q-2012 4Q-2011 3Q-2011 2Q-2011 1Q-2011
Total GDP Growth 4.59% -2.11% 3.50% 4.51% 1.77% 2.75% 0.06% 2.48% 1.62% 2.25% 4.59% 0.84% 2.94% -1.53%
Consumer Goods 1.33% 0.23% 0.83% 0.80% 0.30% 1.35% 0.67% 0.74% 0.29% 1.06% 0.90% 0.20% -0.18% 0.66%
Consumer Services 0.42% 0.60% 1.69% 0.59% 0.93% 1.11% 0.65% 0.58% 0.57% 0.81% 0.04% 1.00% 0.75% 0.72%
Fixed Investment 1.45% 0.03% 0.95% 1.01% 0.74% 0.42% 0.96% 0.45% 0.61% 1.24% 1.36% 2.25% 1.10% -0.11%
Inventories 1.42% -1.16% -0.34% 1.49% 0.30% 0.70% -1.80% -0.19% 0.27% -0.20% 2.80% -2.10% 1.04% -0.96%
Government 0.31% -0.15% -0.71% 0.04% 0.04% -0.75% -1.20% 0.52% -0.08% -0.56% -0.31% -0.52% -0.08% -1.60%
Exports 1.43% -1.30% 1.30% 0.67% 0.82% -0.12% 0.19% 0.28% 0.64% 0.19% 0.56% 0.57% 0.82% 0.27%
Imports -1.77% -0.36% -0.22% -0.09% -1.36% 0.04% 0.59% 0.10% -0.68% -0.29% -0.76% -0.56% -0.51% -0.51%
Real Final Sales 3.17% -0.95% 3.84% 3.02% 1.47% 2.05% 1.86% 2.67% 1.35% 2.45% 1.79% 2.94% 1.90% -0.57%





Summary and Commentary

This report once again strengthens the Fed's hand for completing the QE taper, which should finish before the next GDP report. An economy that is reported to be growing at 4.6% might be argued to be tipping gently towards overheating, especially when the quarter to quarter change of +6.7% is taken into consideration. This report can also be conveniently spun by political hacks into a "happy days are here again" message while heading into the final month before midterm elections.

We repeat that at purely "face value" this report also purports to show a strongly rebounding US economy driven by commercial fixed investments, growing inventories, surging exports and a modestly healthy consumer. The +6.7% quarter to quarter change is truly remarkable: if we view the 2Q-2000 report as somewhat noisy and spurious (since the purported gain was more than fully reversed during the next quarter), we have to go back over 30 years into the early 1980's to find such a dynamic quarterly turn-around (provided, of course, that the current +6.7% turn-around is less spurious than the one reported in 2Q-2000).

We caution that a "face value" reading could be seriously misleading. Let's quickly review the reasons for our concern:

-- Consumer spending provided 38% of the headline growth while representing nearly 70% of the spending. Real per-capita disposable income has grown only 2% (in aggregate!) since 2008, at a minuscule 0.37% annualized rate. Household spending remains constrained, and a healthy (and increasing) savings rate indicates that the majority of consumers remain skeptical about the veracity and sustainability of this purported "recovery."

-- Inventories tend to revert to their means. This quarter's inventory growth is essentially the flip side of last quarter's contraction in what is (over the long haul) a largely zero-sum series.

-- Surging exports fly in the face of both softening economic growth among our major trading partners and a strengthening dollar. When trade fully re-acclimates to the new exchange realities it will be the export numbers that will suffer the most.

It is here that we would normally caution that a plausibly noisy "final" 2nd quarter growth could get reversed in the next quarter's first report, just as it did in 2000. But we also need to remind you that the next report will be issued just 5 days before the mid-term elections. In 2000, the next report after the flaky "final" 2Q-2000 numbers was also just days before a major election, and the bombshell reversal of economic fortunes did not treat the incumbents quite so well.

The next report should be interesting.
 
     
     
  August 28, 2014 - BEA Revises 2nd Quarter 2014 GDP Growth Up to 4.18% Annualized Rate:

In their second estimate of the US GDP for the second quarter of 2014, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported that the economy was growing at a +4.18% annualized rate, up about a quarter of a percent from their previous estimate. When compared to the prior quarter, the new measurement is now up about 6.3% from a -2.11% contraction rate for the 1st quarter of 2014. This is the largest positive quarter to quarter improvement in GDP growth in 14 years.

The largest positive revisions to the growth contributions during the 2nd quarter growth were in commercial fixed investments (+0.34%), imports (+0.11%), exports (+0.08%) and consumer expenditures for services (+0.09%). The increase in consumer services spending was mostly offset by reduced spending for consumer goods (-0.08%), and the improved fixed investment was partially offset by reduced inventory building (-0.27%). The "real final sales of domestic product" growth improved by about a half percent to +2.79%

Real annualized per-capita disposable income was reported to be $37,481 -- up $32 per year from the previous estimate, but still down $388 from the 4th quarter of 2012. As mentioned last month, a significant portion of that increased disposable income went into savings, with the savings rate holding at 5.3% -- the highest savings level since 4Q-2012.

For this report the BEA effectively assumed annualized quarterly inflation of 2.15%. During the second quarter (i.e., from April through June) the growth rate of the seasonally adjusted CPI-U index published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was over one and a third percent higher at a 3.53% (annualized) rate, and the price index reported by the Billion Prices Project (BPP -- which arguably reflected the real experiences of American households) was over a half of a percent higher at 2.72%. Under reported inflation will result in overly optimistic growth data, and if the BEA's numbers were corrected for inflation using the BLS CPI-U the economy would be reported to be growing at a 2.89% annualized rate. If we were to use the BPP data to adjust for inflation, the quarter's growth rate would have been 3.70%.

Among the notable items in the report :

-- The headline contribution of consumer expenditures for goods was 1.30% (down -0.08% from the previous report).

-- The contribution made by consumer services spending increased to 0.40% (up +0.09% from the 0.31% reported last month). The combined contribution to the headline number by consumers was 1.70%.

-- Commercial private fixed investments provided 1.25% of the headline number (up from 0.91% in the earlier estimate).

-- Inventories growth added 1.39% to the headline number (down -0.27% from the first estimate).

-- Governmental spending was essentially unchanged, adding 0.27% to the headline.

-- Exports are now reported to be adding 1.31% to the headline growth rate (up 0.08% from last month's estimate).

-- Imports subtracted -1.74% from the headline number (a 0.11% improvement from the previous report). The combined impact of the foreign trade revisions on the headline number increased by nearly 0.2%.

-- The annualized growth rate for the "real final sales of domestic product" is now reported to be 2.79% (up 0.51% from the earlier estimate). This is the BEA's "bottom line" measurement of the economy, and it is lower than the headline number because of the growing inventories.

-- And as mentioned above, real per-capita annual disposable income was $32 per year higher than previously reported. The revised number represents an annualized growth rate of 3.53%, the highest reported growth rate since the fourth quarter of 2012. That said, the real disposable income is still down a material -$388 per year from that same fourth quarter of 2012 (before the FICA rates normalized) and it is up only 2.19% in total since the second quarter of 2008 -- a miserable 0.36% annualized growth rate over the past 6 years.




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) $17.3 = $11.9 + $2.8 + $3.2 + $-0.6
% of GDP 100.0% = 68.6% + 16.4% + 18.3% + -3.2%
Contribution to GDP Growth % 4.18% = 1.70% + 2.64% + 0.27% + -0.43%


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

2Q-2014 1Q-2014 4Q-2013 3Q-2013 2Q-2013 1Q-2013 4Q-2012 3Q-2012 2Q-2012 1Q-2012 4Q-2011 3Q-2011 2Q-2011 1Q-2011
Total GDP Growth 4.18% -2.11% 3.50% 4.51% 1.77% 2.75% 0.06% 2.48% 1.62% 2.25% 4.59% 0.84% 2.94% -1.53%
Consumer Goods 1.30% 0.23% 0.83% 0.80% 0.30% 1.35% 0.67% 0.74% 0.29% 1.06% 0.90% 0.20% -0.18% 0.66%
Consumer Services 0.40% 0.60% 1.69% 0.59% 0.93% 1.11% 0.65% 0.58% 0.57% 0.81% 0.04% 1.00% 0.75% 0.72%
Fixed Investment 1.25% 0.03% 0.95% 1.01% 0.74% 0.42% 0.96% 0.45% 0.61% 1.24% 1.36% 2.25% 1.10% -0.11%
Inventories 1.39% -1.16% -0.34% 1.49% 0.30% 0.70% -1.80% -0.19% 0.27% -0.20% 2.80% -2.10% 1.04% -0.96%
Government 0.27% -0.15% -0.71% 0.04% 0.04% -0.75% -1.20% 0.52% -0.08% -0.56% -0.31% -0.52% -0.08% -1.60%
Exports 1.31% -1.30% 1.30% 0.67% 0.82% -0.12% 0.19% 0.28% 0.64% 0.19% 0.56% 0.57% 0.82% 0.27%
Imports -1.74% -0.36% -0.22% -0.09% -1.36% 0.04% 0.59% 0.10% -0.68% -0.29% -0.76% -0.56% -0.51% -0.51%
Real Final Sales 2.79% -0.95% 3.84% 3.02% 1.47% 2.05% 1.86% 2.67% 1.35% 2.45% 1.79% 2.94% 1.90% -0.57%





Summary and Commentary

At face value this report continues to show a strongly rebounding US economy driven by commercial fixed investments, growing inventories and surging exports. It shows a growth rate that -- when coupled with largely normalized official unemployment data -- indicates that we have finally reached a full recovery after the nightmare of the Great Recession. The economy apparently has reached the much sought after "escape velocity" after the unprecedented and persistent interventions by Ms. Yellen and Mr. Bernanke.

We, on the other hand, would much prefer a recovery that is driven more organically by consumers merrily disposing of increased disposable income. Before we fully buy the current euphoria from the BEA and crack open a fresh case of champagne, let's look a few items that argue for continued caution:

-- Consumers spending provided about 41% of the headline growth while representing a much larger 69% of the spending. Real per-capita disposable income has grown only 2% in aggregate since 2008. Household spending remains constrained, and a healthy savings rate indicates that the majority of consumers remain skeptical about the veracity and sustainability of this "recovery."

-- Inventories tend to revert to their means. This quarter's inventory growth is essentially the flip side of last quarter's contraction in what is (over the long haul) a largely zero-sum series.

-- Surging exports fly in the face of softening economic growth among our major trading partners. The US has clearly won the most recent round of the ongoing currency wars, but that worm is also likely to turn.

-- And lastly, a gut check: did the 2nd quarter really feel like an economy that was growing 6.3% faster than during the 1st quarter? That is either a phenomenal turnaround over just 90 days, or a sign of seriously noisy numbers momentarily pointing towards implausible and/or unsustainable growth. When presented with contradictory or wildly noisy data, we have always trusted our gut feeling.

To that last point: assuming that an economy with the size, complexity and inertia of the US economy can't really have growth rate changes in excess of 6% over 90 days, what is the real rate of GDP growth? In fact, either averaging the trailing 4 quarters or calculating the year-over-year change over the 4 quarters gives us a 2.5% real growth rate -- essentially the same as the 2.3% growth in real consumer spending recorded over that same time span. When the BEA's overly modest deflators are taken into consideration, an annual growth rate closer to 2% emerges -- with per-capita GDP growth further diluted by a growing population to 1.1%. Those are certainly a more plausible growth rates that cut through most of the noise in the BEA's headlines and more closely align with our gut feelings.

Our recommendation: keep both the champagne and your expectations corked and well chilled.
 
     
     
  July 30, 2014 - BEA Reports 2nd Quarter 2014 GDP Growing at 3.94% Annual Rate:

In their first estimate of the US GDP for the second quarter of 2014, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported that the economy was growing at a +3.94% annualized rate. When compared to the prior quarter, the new measurement is up over 6% from a -2.11% contraction rate for the 1st quarter of 2014 (which was itself revised upward +0.83% from a previously reported -2.94% contraction). This is the largest positive quarter to quarter improvement in GDP growth in some 14 years.

The largest contributions to the 2nd quarter 2014 +6% turnaround in the headline number were from inventories (+2.8%), exports (+2.5), consumer goods expenditures (+1.2%) and commercial fixed investments (+0.9%). Offsetting those positive quarter-to-quarter contribution changes were deteriorating imports (which weakened by -1.5%) and consumer expenditures for services (down -0.3% quarter-to-quarter).

Real annualized per-capita disposable income was reported to be $37,449 -- up some $284 from the prior quarter (a 3.1% annualized growth rate) but still down $420 from the 4th quarter of 2012. A significant portion of that increased disposable income went into savings, with the savings rate growing to 5.3% -- the highest savings level since 4Q-2012.

For this report the BEA effectively assumed annualized quarterly inflation of 2.00%. During the second quarter (i.e., from April through June) the growth rate of the seasonally adjusted CPI-U index published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was over one and a half percent higher at a 3.53% (annualized) rate, and the price index reported by the Billion Prices Project (BPP -- which arguably reflected the real experiences of American households) was three quarters of a percent higher at 2.72%. Under reported inflation will result in overly optimistic growth data, and if the BEA's numbers were corrected for inflation using the BLS CPI-U the economy would be reported to be growing at a 2.49% annualized rate. If we were to use the BPP data to adjust for inflation, the first quarter's growth rate would have been 3.30%.

Separately, the BEA released its annual revision to historical data (dating back to 1999). Average quarterly annualized growth in both 2011 and 2012 was reported to have been somewhat lower than previously reported (by about a third of a percent each year), while average quarterly annualized growth in 2013 was revised upward (by about a half percent).

Among the notable items in the report :

-- The contribution of consumer expenditures for goods to the headline number was 1.38% (up a substantial 1.15% from the 0.23% contribution now reported for the prior quarter).

-- The contribution made by consumer services spending dropped to 0.31% (down -0.29% from the 0.60% reported for the prior quarter).

-- Commercial private fixed investments provided 0.91% of the headline number (after adding only 0.03% during the prior quarter).

-- The prior quarter's contraction in inventories reversed -- adding 1.66% to the headline growth rate after subtracting -1.16% during the prior quarter.

-- Governmental spending grew, adding 0.30% to the headline after removing -0.15% in the prior quarter. All of that growth was at the state and local levels.

-- Exports are now reported to be adding 1.23% to the headline growth rate after subtracting -1.30% during the first quarter.

-- Imports subtracted -1.85% from the headline number after removing only -0.36% during the prior quarter.

-- The annualized growth rate for the "real final sales of domestic product" is reported to be 2.28% (after contracting at a revised -0.95% in the prior quarter). This is the BEA's "bottom line" measurement of the economy, and it is lower than the headline number because of the growing inventories.

-- And as mentioned above, real per-capita annual disposable income grew by $284 during the quarter (a 3.09% annualized rate). But real disposable income is still down a material -$420 per year from the fourth quarter of 2012 (before the FICA rates normalized) and it is up only about 2% in total since the second quarter of 2008 -- some 6 years ago.




The Numbers, With All Past Data 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) $17.3 = $11.9 + $2.8 + $3.2 + $-0.6
% of GDP 100.0% = 68.6% + 16.4% + 18.3% + -3.3%
Contribution to GDP Growth % 3.94% = 1.69% + 2.57% + 0.30% + -0.62%


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

2Q-2014 1Q-2014 4Q-2013 3Q-2013 2Q-2013 1Q-2013 4Q-2012 3Q-2012 2Q-2012 1Q-2012 4Q-2011 3Q-2011 2Q-2011 1Q-2011
Total GDP Growth 3.94% -2.11% 3.50% 4.51% 1.77% 2.75% 0.06% 2.48% 1.62% 2.25% 4.59% 0.84% 2.94% -1.53%
Consumer Goods 1.38% 0.23% 0.83% 0.80% 0.30% 1.35% 0.67% 0.74% 0.29% 1.06% 0.90% 0.20% -0.18% 0.66%
Consumer Services 0.31% 0.60% 1.69% 0.59% 0.93% 1.11% 0.65% 0.58% 0.57% 0.81% 0.04% 1.00% 0.75% 0.72%
Fixed Investment 0.91% 0.03% 0.95% 1.01% 0.74% 0.42% 0.96% 0.45% 0.61% 1.24% 1.36% 2.25% 1.10% -0.11%
Inventories 1.66% -1.16% -0.34% 1.49% 0.30% 0.70% -1.80% -0.19% 0.27% -0.20% 2.80% -2.10% 1.04% -0.96%
Government 0.30% -0.15% -0.71% 0.04% 0.04% -0.75% -1.20% 0.52% -0.08% -0.56% -0.31% -0.52% -0.08% -1.60%
Exports 1.23% -1.30% 1.30% 0.67% 0.82% -0.12% 0.19% 0.28% 0.64% 0.19% 0.56% 0.57% 0.82% 0.27%
Imports -1.85% -0.36% -0.22% -0.09% -1.36% 0.04% 0.59% 0.10% -0.68% -0.29% -0.76% -0.56% -0.51% -0.51%
Real Final Sales 2.28% -0.95% 3.84% 3.02% 1.47% 2.05% 1.86% 2.67% 1.35% 2.45% 1.79% 2.94% 1.90% -0.57%





Summary and Commentary

At first glance this report shows an astonishing turnaround in the economy. It generally exceeded expectations and fully delivered on Ms. Yellen's promise that "... Economic activity is rebounding ... and will continue to expand at a moderate pace thereafter." Apparently, after all, it really was just "bad weather."

And the key measure of "real" per capita disposable income actually shows signs of measurable growth, managing a 3% annualized growth rate.

Plus the dreaded "annual revisions" were far less dramatic than we had come to expect. Although nearly all of the historic numbers changed, it was basically a zero net exercise -- with weaker data for 2011 and 2012 mostly offset by stronger data for 2013.

But before we run out to celebrate, let's look a few items that might argue for some caution :

-- An increased household savings rate absorbed about half of the improved disposable income. And less than 1% of the 6% turnaround in the headline rate was the result of greater consumer spending. Households are still reluctant to spend freely.

-- We have mentioned many times before that inventories are, over time, a zero-sum game. They are also highly volatile -- because of both business cycle factors and the BEA's inventory measurement and valuation methodologies. For that reason the BEA itself removes inventories from what it considers its "bottom line" -- the "real final sales of domestic product." By that measure the economy was growing at a much more modest 2.28% (even using really favorable assumptions about inflation).

-- The volatility in the BEA's numbers is eroding trust : the official measurement of economic growth for the first quarter went from +0.11% to -0.99% to -2.94% over a span of just 56 days. Those reports contained material differences that called for drastically different economic plans and/or corporate responses. At best any of the BEA's initial data lacks credibility. At worst it is a lame guesstimate that targets consensus expectations -- making it arguably the least accurate and least timely among Western developed countries.

-- On "Main Street" the economy is most likely not growing at 4%, unemployment is certainly not roughly 6% by any realistic measure and the reported increase in average household incomes was likely skewed by the upper end. Median households understand all of this -- hence the increased savings.

-- But if Ms. Yellen is either particularly gullible or desperately looking for a rationale to begin "normalizing" monetary policy, this report provides a far better read that what we saw just last month. An economy officially growing at 4% with roughly 6% unemployment would argue strongly for an end to QE and a return to historicly prevalent interest rates.

Unfortunately, this is yet another initial BEA report. We would recommend keeping the champagne on ice for at least the next 60 days.
 
     


Historical Commentary in PDF Format


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 2014-11-25g Indicators
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 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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