GDP = -3.8%

The advance GDP data was released. I expect the revisions will make this even worse.

Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — decreased at an annual rate of 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, (that is, from the third quarter to the fourth quarter), according to advance estimates released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP decreased 0.5 percent.

The Bureau emphasized that the fourth-quarter “advance” estimates are based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency (see the box on page 4). The fourth-quarter “preliminary” estimates, based on more comprehensive data, will be released on February 27, 2009.

The decrease in real GDP in the fourth quarter primarily reflected negative contributions from
exports, personal consumption expenditures, equipment and software, and residential fixed investment that were partly offset by positive contributions from private inventory investment and federal government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased.

Most of the major components contributed to the much larger decrease in real GDP in the fourth quarter than in the third. The largest contributors were a downturn in exports and a much larger decrease in equipment and software. The most notable offset was a much larger decrease in imports.

Final sales of computers subtracted less than 0.01 percentage point from the change in real GDP after subtracting 0.01 percentage point from the third-quarter change. Motor vehicle output subtracted 2.04 percentage points from the fourth-quarter change in real GDP after contributing 0.16 percentage point to the third-quarter change.


Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
8:30 A.M. EST, FRIDAY, JANUARY 30, 2009

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