April 30, 2008

1st Quarter 2008 GDP: +0.6%

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:24 am

Well, here we are.

This is probably the most-anticipated GDP report that’s come along in the three-plus years I’ve been blogging.

Will it or won’t it be negative?

The consensus ahead of the report appears to be (of all things…) positive, though barely:

(A Reuters poll) said gross domestic product, the broadest measure of total economic activity within U.S. borders, likely crept ahead at a slim 0.2 percent annual rate in the first three months this year, down from 0.6 percent growth in the fourth quarter.

The 89 estimates ranged from shrinkage of 0.8 percent to growth of 1.5 percent.

This link at IB Times has an estimate of +0.4%.

The link to the government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis report when published will be is here.

UPDATE, 8:32 A.M. — and the answer is …… is ….. 0.6%.

It looks like the media’s and the Democratic Party’s (excuse the redundancy) celebration of the recession’s beginning has been delayed for at least one quarter.

In yesterday’s post about record April federal tax collections, I theorized that those much higher than expected collections, coupled with reports that there have been inventory buildups, which are typically not picked up very well in the first of the three GDP reports, provide reasons to believe that the GDP revisions in May and June will be upward. We’ll see.

Don’t get me wrong; the report isn’t impressive, even if it ultimately gets revised upward a bit. But it appears that those salivating for a recession will just have a wait a quarter — and work even harder on breaking down consumer and business confidence in the meantime.

I will hopefully have more later — probably at another post.

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UPDATE: Never mind on that. Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters skewers the AP’s Jeannine Aversa (whom yours truly caught writing that “It’s no longer a question of recession or not. Now it’s how deep and how long” just four weeks ago), so I don’t have to.

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8 Comments

  1. Woohoo, no negative quarter and more importantly, no negative number under the imports. Negative GDP Import numbers are historically a leading indicator of recession.

    Housing has been negative since the 1st qtr of 2006 which is to be expected until housing inventories come down to match demand.

    My only concern is both the negative goods sector.

    Tom, the Dems are always going to find something to whine about. I say, let’s throw something back in their faces, they have advocated for years the idea of sustainable growth or low growth, they got what they asked for. What are they complaining about?

    Comment by dscott — April 30, 2008 @ 9:07 am

  2. Now we eagerly await the unemployment stats: “The Employment Situation for April 2008 is scheduled to be released on Friday, May 2, at 8:30 A.M. (EDT).”

    Comment by dscott — April 30, 2008 @ 9:18 am

  3. [...] Tom notes that nationwide, we are officially still not in a recession.  Which makes sense to me.  I remember [...]

    Pingback by NixGuy.com » Part of Ohio is in a Recession — April 30, 2008 @ 9:31 am

  4. #1, your sustainable growth point is also relevant to why oil is $117 or whatever but we can’t drill for anything.

    #2, ADP says +10,000, FWIW, which typically hasn’t been much.

    The big question is whether or not the total number of adults in the household survey will somehow keep going down.

    Comment by TBlumer — April 30, 2008 @ 9:36 am

  5. What drives me nuts is that even if it had showed first quarter negative growth, we still wouldn’t “be in a recession.” But of course, that’s what all the headlines would have been: “Recession!!!!”

    Comment by Nasty, Brutish & Short — April 30, 2008 @ 10:12 am

  6. #5, true that.

    Comment by TBlumer — April 30, 2008 @ 11:39 am

  7. Tom, do you have a link on government/public service sector employment? The thread at NB on 22 million government jobs and their growth in employment has me thinking. The USA Today article seems fishy. It seems like they are laying the groundwork to explain away either an downtick in unemployment or a no change in unemployment report on Friday. I think we need to beat them to the punch.

    Comment by dscott — April 30, 2008 @ 12:59 pm

  8. #7, don’t know. I don’t remember seeing big govt. step-ups in the BLS numbers, but I haven’t looked closely.

    Comment by TBlumer — April 30, 2008 @ 1:07 pm

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