GDP figures due today

The revised 2008 Q2 GDP figures are due out today. Click here to view the actual release when it happens, which will be 12.30GMT/8.30EDT.

And, as usual, I will be commenting in the 30 minutes after the release, along with linking to sites which deal with it.

Just to summarise what has happened so far with the 2008 Q2 figures:

  • The original release (July) had 2008 Q2 GDP at 1.9%.
  • The second release (August) revised Q2 upwards to an unbelievable 3.3%.
  • The August release created a storm of commentary from many econ bloggers about the reliability of the 2nd release - the argument being that there was something amiss about the GDP deflator.
  • The questions about the 2008 Q2 GDP figures were lost in the turmoil of the last two weeks.
What's my take on the third release (due in just less than an hour)? Well I'm glad you asked. Caveat - my predictions on short-term releases like this have been more than educated guesses and I have got them wrong in the past, so take my opinions here with a grain of salt.

I certainly think that the 3.3% figure from last month is not going to be repeated. There will probably be a downward revision of GDP. I think there's a 50% chance of the revision hitting somewhere between 1.9% and 3.3%, a 50% chance of the revision being below 1.9%, a 10% chance of a negative reading (a contraction in the GDP) and a 3% chance of my Mathematics skills improving.

As soon as the figures get released I'll post a direct download link so you can peruse it yourself. Stay tuned here for updates.

Update 12.34GMT/8.34EDT


Direct download here. (pdf, 156kb)

I still think this is too high but this is revision #2 so the chances of it being wrong this time around are much less. The growth probably has a lot to do with the stimulus checks and interest rates. 2008 Q3, however, is looking like a bloodbath and will be released next month.

Update 12.39GMT/8.39EDT

So far no one has picked it up. It's not low enough to make people baulk and isn't high enough to give anyone any confidence.

Update 12.50GMT/8.50EDT

Bloomberg finally says something:
The U.S. economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the second quarter, slower than the previous estimate, as consumer spending and trade added less to growth.

The revised figures were down from a preliminary estimate of 3.3 percent issued last month, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Measures of inflation were higher than previously projected. Net exports and business investment contributed less to the gain in gross domestic product than the prior estimate, the report showed.

Consumer spending has since stalled, businesses have put investment plans on hold, builders have scaled back and credit markets have seized up. Economists at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley this week cut third-quarter GDP forecasts and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke warned the economy may falter without a $700 billion bank rescue.


Economists had projected growth would remain unchanged at 3.3 percent, according to the median of 76 estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. Forecasts ranged from 3 percent to 3.7 percent. Today's report is the final of three estimates.


Today's gross domestic product report showed that the Fed's preferred measure of inflation, which is tied to consumer spending and strips out food and energy costs, rose at a 2.2 percent annual rate, higher than forecast and faster than the 2.1 percent previously estimated. Prices overall came in less than anticipated.
I warned everyone about inflation didn't I? And all those economists got it wrong while I got it (50%) right.

Update 13.00GMT/9.00EDT

Nothing left to say about GDP. However I do recommend any and every reader here to go over to Calculated Risk and join in the Haloscan discussions there. They can be quite interesting and people often discuss events as they happen on the comments thread. Just go to the top article and click on the comment tag and read people's wisdom / panic.

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