"Economists are pessimists: they've predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions."
--Barry Asmus

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Q2 2011 Gross Domestic Product, Advance Figures

Brace yourselves.  This is going to be huge.  No matter what the results are.
This, of course, is Gross Domestic Product ("GDP" to his buddies) - the 800 pound gorilla of economic measures.  It is the economy, being the sum total of private domestic consumption, plus gross private domestic investment, plus government spending, plus the current trade balance.  Every other economic measure we look at is, in some sense, just a shadow cast by the GDP.  Now, what we're getting today is not the actual GDP for Q2 2011.  It's an initial estimate, subject to an initial revision in August and a final revision in September.  However, despite the fact that today's data is maya, people will still be looking at it for hints of what the future holds.  So it's worth looking at anyway
So what do our doughty Econoday-surveyed analysts expect for Q2 advance?  A 1.9% increase in GDP for the quarter, and a 2.0% increase in the price index.
And now, the moment you've all been waiting for.... the Bureau of Economic Analysis Gross Domestic Product: Second Quarter 2011 (Advance Estimate) report!  Let's give it a big hand, everyone!  And right off the bat, we see that we missed expectations.  GDP grew at an annual rate of 1.3% in Q2 (compared to Q1's 0.4%), mostly due to decreased imports, increased federal government spending, and increased nonresidential fixed investing.  The price index, on the other hand, increased at 3.2% (compared to Q1's 4.0%), although that falls to only a 2.6% increase ex-food and ex-energy.  So yes, inflation is growing faster than the economy.
Current-dollar personal income increased 4.2% in Q2, and personal current taxes increased $22.6 billion.  Interestingly enough, they don't provide what percentage this increase represents.  Personal outlays increased 3.1%.
Overall, not terrible.  But not great, either.
[1]  One of many measures of inflation, one that does not receive the "favored son" level of attention that CPI gets.

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