Economics, Pethokoukis

Did GDP grow 2.2% last year — or was it 1.5%?

020813gdp

The US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis:

Real GDP increased 2.2 percent in 2012 (that is, from the 2011 annual level to the 2012 annual level), compared with an increase of 1.8 percent in 2011.

Now, the BEA gets that 2.2% number by taking the quarterly GDP numbers and then averaging them together. But that is not quite the same thing as knowing how much GDP increased by the fourth quarter of 2012 vs. the fourth quarter of 2011. Measured that way, GDP increased by just 1.5%. Pretty ugly either way.

Anyway, revisions to the 4Q data should bump the numbers up a bit. Instead of 0.1% contraction during that period, it now looks like a slight gain of around 0.5%.

3 thoughts on “Did GDP grow 2.2% last year — or was it 1.5%?

  1. “taking the quarterly GDP numbers and then averaging them together” wont always work, especially if they vary by a lot; increases of 1,2,3,4% in that order is different that if they occur in the opposite order…

    i show quarterly percentages increases of 2.0, 1.3, 3.1, & -0.1…i dont see a 2.2 average out those anyway…

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