"Watch The Revisions: Past Conditions Worse Than Advertised"
As you’ve probably heard, the Bureau of Economic Analysis came out today with a very bad quarterly GDP number. What may be even more interesting—and worse—is their annual revision of past numbers. According to the release, not only are things not improving at any kind of reasonable pace, conditions have been worse than initially foretold:
Current-dollar GDP was revised down for all 3 years: $77.6 billion, or 0.5 percent, for 2008; $180.0 billion, or 1.3 percent, for 2009; and $133.9 billion, or 0.9 percent, for 2010. The percent change from the preceding year was revised down from an increase of 2.2 percent to an increase of 1.9 percent for 2008; was revised down from a decrease of 1.7 percent to a decrease of 2.5 percent for 2009; and was revised up from an increase of 3.8 percent to an increase of 4.2 percent for 2010. Current-dollar gross national product (GNP) (GDP plus net receipts of income from the rest of the world) was revised down for all 3 years: $82.9 billion, or 0.6 percent, for 2008; $174.1 billion, or 1.2 percent, for 2009; and $132.8 billion, or 0.9 percent, for 2010. […] Current-dollar GDP was also revised down for all 4 years from 2004-2007: $14.5 billion for 2004, $15.4 billion for 2005, $21.7 billion for 2006, and $33.1 billion for 2007. For 2003, GDP was revised up by less than $1 billion. For 2003-2007, the revisions to current-dollar GDP were mainly accounted for by revisions to PCE.
Not coincidentally, with the country as a whole producing less than we thought it seems that households also had less money than we thought: “Disposable personal income (DPI) (personal income less personal current taxes) was revised up $71.6 billion, or 0.7 percent, for 2008; was revised down $246.1 billion, or 2.2 percent, for 2009; and was revised down $195.0 billion, or 1.7 percent, for 2010.”