Written by Steven Hansen
The third estimate of second-quarter 2020 Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) improved from -31.7 % to -31.4 %.
The market expected (from Econoday):
|Seasonally Adjusted Quarter-over-Quarter Change at an annual rate||Consensus Range||Consensus|
|Real GDP – Q/Q change – SAAR||-33.0 % to -28.3 %||-31.7 %||-32.9 %||-31.7 %||-31.4 %|
|Real Consumer Spending – Q/Q change – SAAR||-34.1 % to -33.9 %||-34.1 %||-34.6 %||-34.1 %||-33.2 %|
- Headline GDP is calculated by annualizing one quarter’s data against the previous quarter’s data. A better method would be to look at growth compared to the same quarter one year ago. For 2Q2020, the year-over-year growth is now -9.0 % – down from 1Q2020’s 0.3 % year-over-year. So one might say that the rate of GDP growth decelerated by 8.7 % from the previous quarter.
Real GDP Expressed As Year-over-Year Change
The same report also provides Gross Domestic Income which in theory should equal Gross Domestic Product. Some have argued the discrepancy is due to misclassification of capital gains as ordinary income – but whatever the reason, there are differences.
Real GDP (blue line) Vs. Real GDI (red line) Expressed As Year-over-Year Change
This third estimate released today is based on more complete source data. (See caveats below.)
Real GDP per Capita
The table below compares the previous quarter estimate of GDP (Table 1.1.2) with the current estimate this quarter which shows:
- consumption for goods and services declined and removed 24.0 % from GDP.
- trade balance declined but added 0.6 % to GDP
- inventories declined and removed 3.5 % from GDP
- fixed investment worsened and removed 5.3 % from GDP
- government spending increased and added 0.8 % to GDP
The following is Table 1.1.2 before the annual revision: [click to enlarge]
What the BEA says about the third estimate of GDP:
Real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of 31.4 percent in the second quarter of 2020, according to the “third” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP decreased 5.0 percent.
Inflation continues to moderate as the “deflator” which adjusts the current value GDP to a “real” comparable value continues to moderate. The following compares the GDP implicit price deflator year-over-year growth to the Consumer Price Index [this puts both on the same basis for comparision]:
What the BLS says about the revision from the second to the third estimate:
In the third estimate, the second-quarter change in real GDP was revised up 0.3 percentage point from the second estimate. PCE, residential investment, and state and local government spending were revised up. These upward revisions were partly offset by downward revisions to exports and to private nonresidential fixed investment (mainly intellectual property products).
Caveats on the Use of Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
GDP is a market value of all final goods and services produced within the USA where the money is used in the transaction – and it is expressed as an annualized number. GDP = private consumption + gross investment + government spending + (exports − imports), or GDP = C + I + G + (X – M). GDP counts monetary expenditures. It is designed to count the value added so that goods are not counted over and over as they move through the manufacture – wholesale – retail chain.
The vernacular relating to the different GDP releases:
“Advance” estimates, based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency, are released near the end of the first month after the end of the quarter; as more detailed and more comprehensive data become available, “second” and “third” estimates are released near the end of the second and third months, respectively. The “latest” estimates reflect the results of both annual and comprehensive revisions.
Consider that GDP includes the costs of suing your neighbor or McDonald’s for hot coffee spilled in your crotch, plastic surgery or cancer treatment, buying a new aircraft carrier for the military, or even the replacement of your house if it burns down – yet little of these activities is real economic growth.
GDP does not include home costs (other than the new home purchase price even though mortgaged up to the kazoo), interest rates, bank charges, or the money spent buying anything used.
It does not measure wealth, disposable income, or employment.
In short, GDP does not measure the change of the economic environment for Joe Sixpack and Joe Sixpack’s kid, yet pundits continuously compare GDP across time periods.
Although there always will be some correlation between all economic pulse points, GDP does not measure the economic elements that directly impact the quality of life of its citizens.