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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:07/201408/201409/201410/201411/201412/201401/201502/201503/201504/2015
Value:95.7897.1496.9695.4897.56100.2799.2799.2898.8098.85


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


     
  April 29, 2015 - BEA Reports Weak 1st Quarter 2015 GDP Growth at 0.25%:

In their first estimate of the US GDP for the first quarter of 2015, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported that the economy was growing at a +0.25% annualized rate, down sharply (-1.97%) from the +2.22% growth rate recorded for the prior quarter. And according to the "real final sales of domestic product" (BEA's very own "bottom line" for the economy), the economy actually shrank during the quarter, contracting at about a half percent (-0.49%) annualized rate, down -2.81% from last quarter's +2.32%. The difference between the headline number and "final sales" is inventory growth, which is excluded from the "bottom line" figure.

Nearly all of the critical lines items in the report were worse than during the previous quarter. Consumer spending for goods grew at a minuscule +0.05% annualized rate (down over a percent from the +1.07% growth during the fourth quarter of 2014), while consumer spending for services also showed weaker growth at +1.26% (with most of that growth in non-discretionary healthcare, housing and utilities), down some -0.65% from the +1.91% reported for 4Q-2014. Fixed investment was in outright contraction (-0.40%, down over a percent from the +0.72% growth recorded for the fourth quarter). And the worst performance was delivered by exports, which shrank at a -0.96% annualized rate -- down -1.55% from the prior quarter's rate, and clearly hammered by a strong dollar.

Inventory growth was the bright spot in this report (per the BEA's logic that ballooning inventories are mathematically good for the GDP and therefore good for the economy), contributing +0.74% to the headline number. The flip side of the strong dollar also helped imports to subtract less from the headline number (-0.29%, compared with -1.62% in 4Q-2014). And government spending contracted at a slower -0.15% annualized rate, thereby boosting the headline number by +0.20%.

Real annualized per capita disposable income increased by a significant $506 (now reported to be $38,235 per annum). This is the largest quarter to quarter growth since the fourth quarter of 2012, and it is the first time that real annualized per capita disposable income has reported cumulative net growth over the nine quarters since then. The household savings rate soared +0.9% to 5.5% (once again, the highest rate since the fourth quarter of 2012), which accounts to a large extent for the reported sluggish consumer spending.

During the first quarter of 2015 (i.e., from January through March) the seasonally adjusted CPI-U index published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was dis-inflationary at a -0.92% (annualized) rate. For this report the BEA assumed a very mildly dis-inflationary annualized deflator of -0.11%. Under reported dis-inflation will result in a more pessimistic headline, and if the BEA's "nominal" numbers were corrected for inflation using the line-item appropriate BLS CPI-U and PPI indexes, the economy would be reported to be growing at a much higher 3.10% annualized rate. Interestingly, during the same quarter the far more responsive Billion Prices Project (BPP) recorded mild positive inflation. If the BPP inflation metric was used to deflate the nominal BEA data the economy could be shown to be contracting at a more than -1.50% annualized rate.

Among the notable items in the report :

-- The headline contribution from consumer expenditures for goods was +0.05% (down -1.02% from the prior quarter).

-- The contribution made by consumer services spending to the headline decreased to +1.26% (down -0.65% from the previous quarter). Healthcare spending provided about half of services growth. The combined consumer contribution to the headline number was 1.31%, down -1.67% from the prior quarter.

-- Contracting commercial private fixed investments removed -0.40% from the headline number -- down over a full percent (-1.12%) from the fourth quarter of 2014. This drop occurred in spending for structures, industrial equipment and IT equipment. Some growth was reported in transportation equipment and intellectual property.

-- Inventory growth added +0.74% to the headline number (up +0.84% from the previous quarter). Once again it is important to note that this number has logically and historically been nearly zero-sum over extended time periods, and future mean reversion to the zero sum should be expected.

-- Governmental spending removed -0.15% from the headline (up +0.20% from the -0.35% for the previous quarter). The contraction was largely the result of decreased state and local spending on infrastructure.

-- Exports are now reported to be subtracting -0.96% from the headline growth rate (down -1.55% from the previous quarter).

-- Imports subtracted substantially less from the headline number (-0.29%) than during the prior quarter (-1.62%) -- also an expected consequence of the stronger dollar.

-- The "real final sales of domestic product" is now contracting at a -0.49% annualized rate. This is the BEA's "bottom line" measurement of the economy and it excludes the reported inventory growth.

-- And as mentioned above, real per-capita annual disposable income grew substantially during the quarter (up $506 per year quarter-to-quarter). The new number represents an annualized growth rate of +5.47%. But it is up only +4.25% in aggregate since the second quarter of 2008 -- an annualized +0.62% growth over the past 26 quarters. The reported softening growth in consumer spending is a consequence of a significant increase in household savings -- i.e., most of that $506 went into savings.




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) $17.7 = $12.1 + $3.0 + $3.2 + $-0.5
% of GDP 100.0% = 68.4% + 16.7% + 17.9% + -3.0%
Contribution to GDP Growth % 0.25% = 1.31% + 0.34% + -0.15% + -1.25%


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

1Q-2015 4Q-2014 3Q-2014 2Q-2014 1Q-2014 4Q-2013 3Q-2013 2Q-2013 1Q-2013 4Q-2012 3Q-2012 2Q-2012 1Q-2012
Total GDP Growth 0.25% 2.22% 4.96% 4.59% -2.11% 3.50% 4.51% 1.77% 2.75% 0.06% 2.48% 1.62% 2.25%
Consumer Goods 0.05% 1.07% 1.06% 1.33% 0.23% 0.83% 0.80% 0.30% 1.35% 0.67% 0.74% 0.29% 1.06%
Consumer Services 1.26% 1.91% 1.15% 0.42% 0.60% 1.69% 0.59% 0.93% 1.11% 0.65% 0.58% 0.57% 0.81%
Fixed Investment -0.40% 0.72% 1.21% 1.45% 0.03% 0.95% 1.01% 0.74% 0.42% 0.96% 0.45% 0.61% 1.24%
Inventories 0.74% -0.10% -0.03% 1.42% -1.16% -0.34% 1.49% 0.30% 0.70% -1.80% -0.19% 0.27% -0.20%
Government -0.15% -0.35% 0.80% 0.31% -0.15% -0.71% 0.04% 0.04% -0.75% -1.20% 0.52% -0.08% -0.56%
Exports -0.96% 0.59% 0.61% 1.43% -1.30% 1.30% 0.67% 0.82% -0.12% 0.19% 0.28% 0.64% 0.19%
Imports -0.29% -1.62% 0.16% -1.77% -0.36% -0.22% -0.09% -1.36% 0.04% 0.59% 0.10% -0.68% -0.29%
Real Final Sales -0.49% 2.32% 4.99% 3.17% -0.95% 3.84% 3.02% 1.47% 2.05% 1.86% 2.67% 1.35% 2.45%





Summary and Commentary

These numbers show materially weaker economic growth within the US. The headline number is positive only because of ballooning inventories, and not because of strong commercial investments or organic growth in consumer spending for discretionary goods or services. Exports were hammered, and the continued strength of the dollar does not bode well for exports moving forward.

What's worse is that the BEA is famously incapable of accurately monitoring a weakening economy in "real time." They may eventually get it right, but only several years after the fact. For example, consider the BEA's constantly changing numbers for the first quarter of 2008 -- from the +0.6% growth shown in an April 30th "real time" report (which, incidentally, grew to +1.0% over the next two months) to a disastrous -2.7% contraction after due consideration and massive revisions (some 64 months later) :

BEA's Changing View of First Quarter 2008 GDP

Reported Growth Rate Report Date Months Lag
+0.6% April 30, 2008 1
+1.0% June 26, 2008 3
-0.7% July 31, 2009 16
-1.8% July 29, 2011 40
-2.7% July 31, 2013 64




We are not suggesting that the first quarter of 2015 is as bad as the first quarter of 2008. We are suggesting that we may not know exactly how bad it was for some time to come.
 
     
     
  March 27, 2015 - BEA Leaves 4th Quarter 2014 GDP Growth Essentially Unchanged at 2.22%:

In their third estimate of the US GDP for the fourth quarter of 2014, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported that the economy was growing at a +2.22% annualized rate, effectively unchanged (+0.04%) from the +2.18% previously reported and down -2.74% from the growth rate reported for the prior quarter.

Despite the very minor change in the headline number, there were larger (but mostly offsetting) revisions to the components of that headline. On the upside, improving exports were the most significant revision -- adding +0.17% to the headline number. Personal consumption expenditures for goods (+0.06%) and services (+0.09%) improved slightly, while spending on fixed investments remained mostly unchanged (+0.01%). On the downside, lowered inventory growth was yet again the largest revision -- this time removing -0.22% from the headline growth rate. Growth in governmental spending and imports were also slightly lower.

Real annualized per capita disposable income was revised downward by -$13 (now reported to be $37,729 per annum). This is down $103 per year from the 4th quarter of 2012. The household savings rate dropped -0.1% in this revision to 4.6%, down from 4.8% in the prior quarter.

As mentioned last month, plunging energy prices during the fourth quarter of 2014 were likely impacting many of the numbers in this report. US "at the pump" gasoline prices fell 33% quarter-to-quarter -- pushing all consumer oriented inflation indexes firmly into negative territory. 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 solidly dis-inflationary at a -2.24% (annualized) rate, and the price index reported by the Billion Prices Project (BPP -- which arguably more fully reflected the "at the pump" impact on American households) was significantly more dis-inflationary, dropping a full -2.14% quarter-to-quarter (an eye opening -8.30% annualized rate during the quarter).

Yet for this report the BEA assumed a very mildly inflationary annualized deflator of +0.16%. Over reported inflation will result in a more pessimistic headline, and if the BEA's "nominal" numbers were corrected for inflation using the line-item appropriate BLS CPI-U and PPI indexes, the economy would be reported to be growing at an implausibly high 6.84% annualized rate. Clearly there is a major disconnect between the inflation monitoring methodologies used by the BEA and those used by its sister agency, the BLS.

Among the notable items in the report :

-- The headline contribution from consumer expenditures for goods was +1.07% (up +0.06% from the prior estimate).

-- The contribution made by consumer services spending to the headline increased to +1.91% (up +0.09% from the previous report) -- with healthcare spending adding +0.88% all by itself to the headline, up +0.35% in this revision. The combined consumer contribution to the headline number was 2.98%, up +0.15% from the prior estimate.

-- Commercial private fixed investments provided +0.72% of the headline number -- essentially unchanged (+0.01%) from the previous report, but down -0.49% from the 1.21% in the 3rd quarter), and this drop was nearly all in heavy equipment (industrial and transportation). The reported growth came almost entirely from IT spending and intellectual property.

-- Inventories contributed -0.10% to the headline number (down another -0.22% from the previous estimate, while being only modestly lower than the prior quarter (-0.07%). This number had swung wildly in the prior estimates, only to revert ultimately to "practically unchanged." We suspect that rapidly changing energy prices initially created phantom inventory valuation fluctuations that have finally been suppressed.

-- Governmental spending removed -0.35% from the headline (down -0.03% from the previous report but down a full -1.15% from the 3rd quarter). The prior quarter's (3Q-2014) remarkable growth in Federal spending was in fact entirely fictitious: spending pulled forward from the 4th quarter as a result of fiscal year-end budgetary shenanigans -- a repetitive annual distortion that the BEA utterly fails to handle within its "seasonal adjustment" protocols.

-- Exports are now reported to be contributing +0.59% to the headline growth rate (up +0.17% from the previous estimate).

-- Imports subtracted -1.62% from the headline number (down -1.78% from the prior quarter).

-- The annualized growth rate for the "real final sales of domestic product" is now reported to be +2.32% (down -2.67% from the prior quarter). This is the BEA's "bottom line" measurement of the economy.

-- And as mentioned above, real per-capita annual disposable income was revised downward by another -$13 per year. The new number represents an annualized growth rate of +2.80%. Real disposable income is still down -$103 per year from the fourth quarter of 2012 (before the FICA rates normalized) and it is up only +2.87% in aggregate since the second quarter of 2008 -- a pathetic +0.44% annualized growth rate over the past 6 and a half years. Any reported increases in consumer spending are coming from decreased savings and increased personal debt -- and not from improving disposable income.




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) $17.7 = $12.1 + $2.9 + $3.2 + $-0.5
% of GDP 100.0% = 68.5% + 16.6% + 18.0% + -3.1%
Contribution to GDP Growth % 2.22% = 2.98% + 0.62% + -0.35% + -1.03%


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-2014 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 2.22% 4.96% 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 1.07% 1.06% 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 1.91% 1.15% 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 0.72% 1.21% 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 -0.10% -0.03% 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 -0.35% 0.80% 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 0.59% 0.61% 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 -1.62% 0.16% -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 2.32% 4.99% 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

Any revisions seen in this report (like those in its predecessor) are mainly noise. The lack of material new information offers an opportunity to reflect on several the larger issues evident in recent GDP reporting:

-- Inventory fluctuations (whether real or imaginary) continue to play havoc with the headline number. An accurately measured line item that captures real physical inventory levels should have nearly zero sum changes over year-long time spans. It would be very useful to definitively know if any increased production is being fully consumed or merely inventoried. But the BEA's current inventory methodologies and data are counterproductive. They often include phantom inventory changes that are in fact the artifacts of rogue "deflators" impacting inventory valuations -- and not actual changes in physical inventory levels. And any useful physical inventory data is so late arriving that it gets finalized only in the annual July revisions -- long after anyone (other than academicians at the BEA) still cares.

-- The discrepancies between the BEA's and the BLS's inflation reporting is staggering. It feels like a sporting event where each team keeps its own score -- reflecting their own political agendas. Can't we just have one set of "best practice" Federal inflation data that has transparency, consistency and accuracy as the primary agenda items?

-- Speaking of deflators, clearly the BEA's are troubling. But using more reasonable deflators from the BLS or other third parties generates nonsensical growth rates when applied to the BEA's nominal data. This in turn suggests that the BEA's initial nominal data may be more overstated (or optimistically guesstimated) than reasonable deflators can handle -- which perhaps the BEA is tacitly admitting by using unreasonable deflators.

-- Can't the BEA include Federal fiscal year-end budgetary shenanigans in its otherwise impenetrably opaque "seasonal adjustment" protocols? How can third calendar quarter (fourth fiscal quarter) Federal spending always be an annual upside surprise?

-- Should economic data in the 21st century still be reported using the methodologies and calendars developed by Wesley Clair Mitchell (at the behest of Franklin Roosevelt) in 1934? Can't we do better than quarterly data published monthly? With the first "estimate" more accurately described as "a wild ass guess, fudged to align with media expectations"? And with the second and third estimates actually just place holders that have been gently nudged towards the numbers that the BEA expects will ultimately show up in the next annual revision?

It all brings to mind Ralph Waldo Emerson's foolish consistency -- a consistency that conveniently maintains a methodology based deniability.

That said, stay tuned for the next report (covering 1Q-2015), which could be far more interesting.
 
     
     
  February 27, 2015 - BEA Revises 4th Quarter 2014 GDP Growth Downward to 2.18%:

In their second estimate of the US GDP for the fourth quarter of 2014, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported that the economy was growing at a +2.18% annualized rate, down roughly a half percent (-0.46%) from the +2.64% previously reported and down -2.78% from the growth rate reported for the prior quarter.

The downward revisions were in several of its components: lower inventory growth removed -0.70% from the headline growth rate, slower consumer goods spending removed another -0.19%, and imports took yet another -0.19%.

Consumer services spending was revised upward +0.15%, and non-residential fixed investment was reported to be +0.34% higher than previously published.

Real annualized per capita disposable income was revised downward by -$33 (now reported to be $37,742 per annum). This is down $90 per year from the 4th quarter of 2012. The household savings rate improved +0.1% for the quarter to 4.7%.

As mentioned last month, plunging energy prices during the quarter were likely playing havoc with many of the numbers in this report. US "at the pump" gasoline prices fell 33% quarter-to-quarter -- pushing all consumer oriented inflation indexes firmly into negative territory. 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 solidly dis-inflationary at a -2.47% (annualized) rate, and the price index reported by the Billion Prices Project (BPP -- which arguably more fully reflected the "at the pump" impact on American households) was significantly more dis-inflationary, dropping a full -2.14% quarter-to-quarter (an astounding -8.30% annualized rate during the quarter).

Yet for this report the BEA still assumed a very mildly dis-inflationary annualized deflator of only -0.14%. The disparity between the BEA's and the BLS's "deflators" raises some serious consistency issues. Over reported inflation (or under reported dis-inflation) will result in a more pessimistic growth data, and if the BEA's "nominal" numbers were corrected for inflation using the line-item appropriate BLS CPI-U and PPI indexes, the economy would be reported to be growing at an implausibly high 6.52% annualized rate. Clearly the BEA's deflator is troubling, but using the more reasonable deflators from the BLS generates nonsensical growth rates when applied to the BEA's nominal data -- suggesting that the BEA's initial nominal data may be more overstated (or guesstimated) than reasonable deflators can handle.

Among the notable items in the report :

-- The headline contribution from consumer expenditures for goods was +1.01% (down -0.19% from the prior estimate).

-- The contribution made by consumer services spending to the headline increased to +1.82% (up +0.15% from the previous report). The combined consumer contribution to the headline number was 2.83%, down -0.04% from the prior estimate.

-- Commercial private fixed investments provided +0.71% of the headline number (up +0.34% from the previous report, but down -0.50% from the 1.21% in the 3rd quarter), and this drop was nearly all in heavy equipment (industrial and transportation). The reported growth came almost entirely from IT spending and intellectual property.

-- Inventories contributed +0.12% to the headline number (down a full -0.70% from the prior estimate).

-- Governmental spending removed -0.32% from the headline (up +0.08% from the previous report but down -1.12% from the 3rd quarter). As mentioned last month, the prior quarter's growth in Federal spending was in fact entirely spurious: spending pulled forward from the 4th quarter as a result of fiscal year-end budgetary maneuvers.

-- Exports are now reported to be contributing +0.42% to the headline growth rate (up +0.05% from the previous estimate).

-- Imports subtracted -1.58% from the headline number (down -1.74% from the prior quarter).

-- The annualized growth rate for the "real final sales of domestic product" is now reported to be +2.06% (down -2.93% from the prior quarter). This is the BEA's "bottom line" measurement of the economy.

-- And as mentioned above, real per-capita annual disposable income was revised downward by -$33 per year. The new number represents an annualized growth rate of +2.95%. Real disposable income is still down -$90 per year from the fourth quarter of 2012 (before the FICA rates normalized) and it is up only +2.90% in total since the second quarter of 2008 -- a pathetic +0.44% annualized growth rate over the past 6 and a half 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) $17.7 = $12.1 + $3.0 + $3.2 + $-0.6
% of GDP 100.0% = 68.4% + 16.7% + 18.0% + -3.1%
Contribution to GDP Growth % 2.18% = 2.83% + 0.83% + -0.32% + -1.16%


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-2014 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 2.18% 4.96% 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 1.01% 1.06% 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 1.82% 1.15% 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 0.71% 1.21% 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% -0.03% 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 -0.32% 0.80% 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 0.42% 0.61% 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 -1.58% 0.16% -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 2.06% 4.99% 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

The revisions in this report are relatively minor, and probably should be considered just "noise" in the context of an economy with a slowing growth rate. Among our observations about this report are:

-- At face value, the +2.06% "bottom line" Real Final Sales growth rate seems plausible for the US economy during the fourth quarter of 2014.

-- The reported strong growth in fixed investment occurred primarily in two areas: IT spending and the recently added (and very fuzzy) arena of "intellectual property."

-- Rampant or rouge deflators are likely as much a factor in the headline number as real growth.

Looking forward, we are often told that "bad weather" is a major factor in first quarter economic data -- keeping shoppers home and suppressing construction work. Given the quarter-to-quarter weakening already evident in the GDP numbers, the first quarter probably wasn't going to be particularly pleasant even before the recent record snowfalls. It could now be getting just as nasty as the weather itself.
 
     
     
  January 30, 2015 - BEA Estimates 4th Quarter 2014 GDP Growth to be 2.64%:

In their first estimate of the US GDP for the fourth quarter of 2014, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported that the economy was growing at a +2.64% annualized rate, down -2.32% from the much celebrated +4.96% growth rate reported for the prior quarter.

The growth was nearly halved by substantial changes in a number of its components: imports took -1.55% from the quarter's growth rate, exports pulled another -0.24% from the number, contracting governmental spending took another -1.20% off the top, and plunging fixed investment removed yet another -0.84% from the headline.

Inventories and consumer spending were the only bright spots. Inventory growth added +0.85% to the headline. Increased spending on goods added +0.14% to the headline number, while spending on household services added 0.52% to the headline.

The increased consumer spending came from both improved disposable income and reduced savings. Households had an additional $279 in real annualized per capita disposable income (now reported to be $37,775 per annum). This is still down $94 per year from the 4th quarter of 2012. The household savings rate dropped another -0.1% for the quarter to 4.6%.

As mentioned last quarter, plunging energy prices are likely playing havoc with many of the numbers in this report. US "at the pump" gasoline prices fell 33% quarter-to-quarter -- pushing all consumer oriented inflation indexes firmly into negative territory. 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 solidly dis-inflationary at a -2.47% (annualized) rate, and the price index reported by the Billion Prices Project (BPP -- which arguably more fully reflected the "at the pump" impact on American households) was significantly more dis-inflationary, dropping a full -2.14% quarter-to-quarter (an astounding -8.30% annualized rate during the quarter).

Yet for this report the BEA still assumed a very mildly dis-inflationary annualized deflator of only -0.09%. The disparity between the BEA's and the BLS's "deflators" raises some serious consistency issues. Over reported inflation (or under reported dis-inflation) will result in a more pessimistic growth data, and if the BEA's "nominal" numbers were corrected for inflation using the line-item appropriate BLS CPI-U and PPI indexes, the economy would be reported to be growing at an implausibly high 7.17% annualized rate. Clearly the BEA's deflator is troubling, but using the more reasonable deflators from the BLS generates nonsensical growth rates when applied to the BEA's nominal data -- suggesting that the BEA's initial nominal data may be more overstated (or guesstimated) than reasonable deflators can handle.

Among the notable items in the report :

-- The headline contribution from consumer expenditures for goods was +1.20% (up +0.14% from the prior quarter).

-- The contribution made by consumer services spending to the headline surged to +1.67% (up +0.52% from the last quarter). Housing, utilities and spending on recreational services provided the boost, while a drop in non-profit spending provided a partial offset. The combined consumer contribution to the headline number by consumers was 2.87%, up +0.66% from the prior quarter.

-- Commercial private fixed investments provided only +0.37% of the headline number (down -0.84% from the 1.21% in the 3rd quarter), and this drop was nearly all in heavy equipment (industrial and transportation). The reported growth came almost entirely from IT spending.

-- Inventories contributed +0.82% to the headline number (up a full +0.85% from the prior quarter). This line item is roughly zero-sum over longer time spans, and this gain can be expected to reverse over the coming quarters.

-- As we expected, governmental spending removed -0.40% from the headline (down -1.20% from the 3rd quarter). The prior quarter's growth in Federal spending was in fact entirely spurious: spending pulled forward from the 4th quarter as a result of fiscal year-end budgetary maneuvers. For all of the BEA's other highly opaque "seasonal adjustments," they seem to completely fail to correct for seasonal anomalies caused by Federal fiscal year-end budgetary shenanigans (although cynics might point out that the failure to seasonally adjust for those shenanigans consistently provides spurious growth just prior to November elections that isn't reversed out until after the subsequent "State of the Union" address).

-- Exports are now reported to be contributing +0.37% to the headline growth rate (down -0.24% from the third quarter).

-- Imports subtracted -1.39% from the headline number (down -1.55% from the prior quarter). The prior quarter's imports numbers are among those that would be most susceptible to price related distortions.

-- The annualized growth rate for the "real final sales of domestic product" is now reported to be only +1.82% (down -3.17% from the prior quarter). This is the BEA's "bottom line" measurement of the economy, and that "bottom line" rate lost nearly two-thirds of its prior quarter's value.

-- And as mentioned above, real per-capita annual disposable income was reported to have grown by $279 per year. The new number represents an annualized growth rate of 3.01%. Real disposable income is still down -$94 per year from the fourth quarter of 2012 (before the FICA rates normalized) and it is up only 2.99% in total since the second quarter of 2008 -- a pathetic 0.45% annualized growth rate over the past 6 and a half 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) $17.7 = $12.1 + $3.0 + $3.2 + $-0.5
% of GDP 100.0% = 68.4% + 16.7% + 18.0% + -3.1%
Contribution to GDP Growth % 2.64% = 2.87% + 1.19% + -0.40% + -1.02%


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-2014 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 2.64% 4.96% 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 1.20% 1.06% 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 1.67% 1.15% 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 0.37% 1.21% 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 0.82% -0.03% 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 -0.40% 0.80% 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 0.37% 0.61% 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 -1.39% 0.16% -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 1.82% 4.99% 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

Well, the 5% growth was nice while it lasted. And now we know why the Fed is disinclined to remove stimulus by "normalizing" interest rates.

Among our take-aways from this report are:

-- For once, and at face value, the +1.82% "bottom line" Real Final Sales growth rate (corrected for inventory changes) seems both plausible and feels about right for this economy.

-- Looking back, this reports tells us that the 5% growth in the third quarter probably had more than its share of smoke and mirrors -- including the gratuitous Federal fiscal year end shenanigans, the political gift that keeps on giving.

-- And we hate to get technical, but we are truly troubled by consistency and transparency issues raised by this report. We have been critical of the BEA's deflators many times before, suspecting that under reported inflation was artificially boosting the headline numbers. Now that the situation has completely reversed (with the BEA under reporting price DIS-inflation), we are even more troubled by an inability to derive meaningful or plausible alternate growth rates via BLS provided deflators. We understand that the BEA and BLS price tracking methodologies are vastly different, and comparing their deflators has serious "apples and oranges" issues. Nevertheless, however correct and consistent the BEA's -0.09% quarterly deflator is from their methodology standpoint, it is patently absurd from a real-world perspective. Unfortunately, that absurd deflator generates a reasonable growth number when applied against the BEA's nominal data. The mathematical implication is that the nominal data is just as absurd as the -0.09% deflator.

Clearly something has been pulled out of a hat. We just can't tell what.
 
     
     
  December 23, 2014 - BEA Revises 3rd Quarter 2014 GDP Growth Upwards Again to 4.96% Annualized Rate:

In their third estimate of the US GDP for the third quarter of 2014, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported that the economy was growing at an astounding +4.96% annualized rate, up an additional +1.07% from their prior estimate for the 3rd quarter and now up +0.37% from the already very healthy 4.59% annualized growth rate registered during the second quarter.

This revision contained improved numbers for nearly every segment of the economy. The largest gains from the previous report were recorded in consumer expenditures for services (+0.61%, mostly in healthcare) and corporate non-residential investment (+0.24%, primarily in structures and intellectual property). Consumer expenditures for goods and inventories each added another +0.09% to the headline number, while governmental spending and imports added +0.04% each. Only exports weakened, softening their contribution to the headline number by -0.04% (offsetting the positive contribution from imports).

Despite the increased consumer spending, households actually lost disposable income in this revision -- losing yet another $29 in real annualized per capita disposable income (now reported to be $37,496 per annum). This is now down a full $373 per year from the 4th quarter of 2012. The healthcare spending growth reported above came exclusively from reduced household savings, which dropped yet another -0.3% 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 even accelerated their dive since). US "at the pump" gasoline prices fell 9.8% quarter-to-quarter (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 still assumed an effective positive annualized quarterly inflation of 1.39%. 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 an astronomical 6.52% annualized rate. If we were to use just the BPP data to adjust for inflation, the quarter's growth rate would have been growing even faster, at a 6.60% annualized rate.

Among the notable items in the report :

-- The headline contribution from consumer expenditures for goods was +1.06% (up +0.09% from the previous estimate, but down -0.27% from the prior quarter).

-- The contribution made by consumer services spending to the headline surged to +1.15% (up +0.61% from the previous report and +0.73% from the 0.42% reported last quarter). The combined consumer contribution to the headline number by consumers was 2.21%, up +0.46% from the prior quarter.

-- Commercial private fixed investments provided +1.21% of the headline number (down -0.24% from the 1.45% in the 2nd quarter), and this continued positive growth is nearly all non-residential. The increases shown in this report came almost equally from spending on structures and the recently added intellectual property category.

-- Inventories subtracted only -0.03% from the headline number (and down a full -1.45% from the prior quarter).

-- Governmental spending added +0.80% to the headline. The growth in Federal spending was probably 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 0.61% to the headline growth rate (down -0.04% from the previous estimate and -0.82% from the second quarter).

-- Imports added +0.16% to the headline number (up +0.04% from the previous estimate, and up +1.93% from the prior quarter).

-- The annualized growth rate for the "real final sales of domestic product" is now reported to be 4.99% (up +0.98% 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 $29 per year. The new number represents an annualized growth rate of 1.25%. Real disposable income is still down a material -$373 per year from the 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 0.35% 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% + 18.2% + -2.9%
Contribution to GDP Growth % 4.96% = 2.21% + 1.18% + 0.80% + 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 4.96% 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 1.06% 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 1.15% 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 1.21% 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 -0.03% 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 0.80% 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 0.61% 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 0.16% -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 4.99% 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

The puzzle in these numbers lies in the huge discrepancy between the reported face value of the economy's growth (nearly 5% per annum, sustained for at least two quarters) and the continued public proclamations from the central bankers that the economy requires further (effectively indefinite) stimulus in the form of extraordinarily low interest rates.

There are several points to ponder:

-- What does the Federal Reserve know that is either missed by (or not yet captured in) these numbers?

-- Is increased consumer spending on non-discretionary healthcare (at the cost of raiding household savings) really good for the overall economy? And if real household disposable income continues to shrink, who exactly is benefiting from the reported growth?

-- Since no other major developed country has credible growth data anywhere near the 5% ball park, how can US economic growth remain a statistical outlier over an extended period of time?

There are at lease a few obvious and plausible answers to the above questions:

-- The Fed knows that these numbers misrepresent the true health of the economy -- either now or in the near future.

-- US households (especially at the median) are not participating meaningfully in the reported growth -- which is probably happening almost exclusively on the far side of the "wealth divide."

-- The US is benefiting globally (in an almost predatory fashion) from having the strongest of currencies and the safest of investment havens.

Unfortunately, the latter two answers carry with them destabilizing social consequences that are far worse (internally and externally) than the mere possibility of yet another economic slowdown -- currently utterly unforeseen by the BEA.

From our perspective we actually hope that the Fed knows far more than is evident in this latest happy BEA report.
 
     


Historical Commentary in PDF Format


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 2015-04-29g 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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