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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.”

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