Predictions for GDP growth during the fourth quarter are running from the New York Posts’s John Crudele’s annualized 3.2 percent to 3.6 percent at Seeking Alpha.
Recent data would make you think that today’s figure might trail the range just noted, but the past two quarters’ GDP figures averaging 4.8 annualized growth seem disconnected from the underlying reality, making predictions at this point a crapshoot.
The report will be here at 8:30 a.m.
8:25 a.m.: Well, well … Bloomberg is carrying a 3 percent prediction. Business Insider also has the 3 percent prediction, which will, per them, be driven by an annualized 4 percent increase in consumption.
HERE IT IS (permanent full text link): Bloomberg’s late writedown to 3 percent turns out to have been a harbinger of a poorer result, and I guess the meme be that federal government “austerity” ruined everything —
Real gross domestic product — the value of the production of goods and services in the United States, adjusted for price changes — increased at an annual rate of 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 5.0 percent.
… The increase in real GDP in the fourth quarter reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), private inventory investment, exports, nonresidential fixed investment, state and local government spending, and residential fixed investment that were partly offset by a negative contribution from federal government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.
The deceleration in real GDP growth in the fourth quarter primarily reflected an upturn in imports, a downturn in federal government spending, and decelerations in nonresidential fixed investment and in exports that were partly offset by an upturn in private inventory investment and an acceleration in PCE.
The price index for gross domestic purchases, which measures prices paid by U.S. residents, decreased 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter, in contrast to an increase of 1.4 percent in the third. Excluding food and energy prices, the price index for gross domestic purchases increased 0.7 percent, compared with an increase of 1.6 percent.
Excuse me, but that 0.3% deflator is more than a little hard to take.
Here’s how the 3Q14 and 4Q14 components compare:
Once again, noninventory investment is virtually flat.
Once again, health care spending, which in my opinion is adding no standard of living value (see the end of this PJ Media column I wrote earlier this month), was a disproportionate contributor. (An additional health care-related contribution might explain why the “financial services and insurance” component, not listed above, contributed 0.32 points).
Absent an inventory buildup, which I believe represents manufacturers and retailers building up stocks beyond their anticipated need, GDP grew by an annualized 1.8 percent.
I feel the consumption number is going to come down a bit in future revisions, but that other component increases will probably offset that.
We’ll see in future months, but today’s report was not good at all.