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Posts Tagged ‘gross domestic product’

Sense on Cents Quiz: Average GDP from ’02-’12 Is . . ?

Posted by Larry Doyle on July 31st, 2013 10:53 AM |

The Bureau of Economic Analysis this morning released the 2nd quarter GDP report and it registered a surprisingly robust reading of 1.7%.

Not that a growth rate of 1.7% is anything to write home about but it was better than the forecasted growth rate of 1% or thereabouts.

The cynic in me tells me that I guess we are supposed to disregard the downward revision to the prior quarter’s growth from a reading of 1.8% to 1.1%. That fact only further confirms that our economy continues to largely walk in place with what I have long defined to be a case of “walking pneumonia.’ (more…)

Economics: An Art or a Science? Checking in with Rick Davis of Consumer Metrics Institute

Posted by Larry Doyle on September 27th, 2010 7:21 AM |

The study of human behavior may be considered a science but to me it is the greatest and most challenging of arts. Why is that? For the very simple reason that while we are limited in the ability to study human behavior by reviewing the past, we are challenged by the fact that future behaviors are forever changing. The lessons of the past often do repeat themselves in the future; however, the environment of the PRESENT has NEVER truly been experienced so our current and future behaviors are so hard to forecast. Thus, is economics more art or science? Perhaps we can cover both bases and call it as much an art as a science especially in the Uncle Sam Economy circa 2010.

I raise this topic based upon a recent commentary put forth by a Sense on Cents favorite site, Consumer Metrics Institute. Rick Davis continues to paint an exquisite work as he recently penned, The Diverging GDP,

Prior to each revision to the GDP we are asked for insights into the likely course of those corrections from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (“BEA”) of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Most of the questions we have received recently center on the increasing divergence of our Daily Growth Index from the BEA’s GDP over the past couple of quarters: (more…)

Continuing Consumer Contraction Points to Accelerating Double Dip

Posted by Larry Doyle on July 27th, 2010 6:10 AM |

2nd quarter earnings are certainly coming in stronger than expected, and our equity markets are having a solid rebound this month. Are these earnings reflective of real underlying strength in the economy or corporations that are now operating more efficiently?

Has our economy hit a soft patch? Is it declining? Are we rebounding from a recent downturn? Might we experience a real double dip?

The initial reading of 2nd quarter GDP is due this Friday. To say that it is highly anticipated would be a huge understatement. Consensus expectations for 2nd quarter GDP are running between +2.5% and +3%. Recall that the final 1st quarter report registered a +2.7% reading.

A Sense on Cents favorite has a decidedly different view of 2nd quarter economic activity and the subsequent GDP. (more…)

“Grossly Distorted Product” or “Christmas in July”

Posted by Larry Doyle on October 30th, 2009 9:10 AM |

What is the real economy doing? While yesterday’s GDP printed a surprisingly strong 3.5%, are we to take that on face value? If we care to most effectively navigate the economic landscape, we should dig a little deeper.

A full 2.2% of the 3.5% rise was directly correlated to Uncle Sam’s support of the auto and residential construction sectors of the economy. Another .6% of the GDP was directly correlated to federal spending. Obviously, the Uncle Sam economy implies a large presence by that jolly old man. However, all that money Sam is pumping is nothing more than borrowing from future generations and pulling demand forward.

What would the economy have done on its own without the government support? Let’s listen to Christina Romer. Recall that Ms. Romer referenced last week that this quarter would provide the peak impact of benefits accruing from Uncle Sam’s economic stimulus. What does she say about this GDP report?¬† The Wall Street Journal references Ms. Romer in writing, Economy Snaps Long Slump:

Without stimulus programs such as “cash for clunkers” and a first-time homebuyer’s credit, “real GDP would have risen little, if at all, this past quarter,” Christina Romer, president of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said in a statement.

Why does Ms. Romer provide that sobering view of the economy? Very simply, if the American consumer represents 70% of the economy, then we should largely focus on that consumer. What did we learn about the consumer over the last quarter?

The Financial Times’ John Auther informs us in writing, Short View: GDP Grows, but Pain Remains:

Household disposable incomes actually fell during the quarter, by 3.4 per cent, but consumer spending rose, also by 3.4 per cent. This is not a pattern that can be sustained for long, and it is inconsistent with the need for US families to pay down their debts.

What does that disparity between income and spending represent? An unsustainable economic path. What else does it mean? The U.S. economy just had “Christmas in July.”

Did you get anything in your stocking?

LD

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