Friday, January 27, 2012

Real GDP increased 2.8% annual rate in Q4

by Bill McBride on 1/27/2012 08:30:00 AM

From the BEA:

Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 (that is, from the third quarter to the fourth quarter), according to the "advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The acceleration in real GDP in the fourth quarter primarily reflected an upturn in private inventory investment and accelerations in PCE and in residential fixed investment that were partly offset by a deceleration in nonresidential fixed investment, a downturn in federal government spending, an acceleration in imports, and a larger decrease in state and local government spending.
The following graph shows the quarterly GDP growth (at an annual rate) for the last 30 years. The dashed line is the current growth rate. Growth in Q4 at 2.8% annualized was below trend growth (around 3%) - and very weak for a recovery - but the best since Q2 2010.

GDP Forecast
Click on graph for larger image.

A few key numbers:
• Real personal consumption expenditures increased 2.0 percent in the second quarter, compared with an increase of 1.7 percent in the third.

• Change in private inventories added 1.94 percentage point. This was partially ffset by a decline in government spending (subtracted 0.93 percentage points).

• Investment growth slowed, except residential investment: "Real nonresidential fixed investment increased 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 15.7 percent in the third. Nonresidential structures decreased 7.2 percent, in contrast to an increase of 14.4 percent. Equipment and software increased 5.2 percent, compared with an increase of 16.2 percent. Real residential fixed investment increased 10.9 percent, compared with an increase of 1.3 percent."

I'll have more on GDP later ...

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