2011 Economic Calendar
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Released On 11/22/2011 8:30:00 AM For Q3(p):2011
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Real GDP - Q/Q change - SAAR2.5 %2.4 %2.0 % to 2.9 %2.0 %
GDP price index - Q/Q change - SAAR2.5 %2.5 %2.5 % to 2.5 %2.5 %
GDP - $ level15.199 thous billion $

The economy got a moderate downgrade for the third quarter but the downgrade largely came from where there is the least damage to forward momentum. The Commerce Department's second estimate for third quarter GDP growth was bumped down to an increase of 2.0 percent annualized, compared to the initial estimate of 2.5 percent and to second quarter growth of 1.3 percent. Analysts had forecast a revision to 2.4 percent annualized.

The downward revision primarily was due to a downward revision to inventory investment-from plus $5.4 billion initially to minus $8.5 billion. This revision is the equivalent of a 0.43 percentage point lower contribution to GDP growth.

Minor downward revisions also were made to personal consumption, nonresidential fixed investment, residential investment, and government purchases. Net exports were revised up to minus $400.7 billion from minus $409.4 billion.

The net effects of revisions to inventories and other components (notably net exports) leave demand numbers still relatively healthy. Final sales of domestic product were unrevised from the initial estimate of 3.6 percent. Final sales to domestic purchasers were down to 3.0 percent from the original estimate of 3.2 percent annualized.

Economy-wide inflation was unrevised at 2.5 percent and compares to the second quarter rise of 2.5 percent. The market median forecast was for 2.5 percent.

Turning to current quarter strengths and weakness (as opposed to component revisions), the economy was still gaining modest momentum. The acceleration in real GDP in the third quarter primarily reflected accelerations in PCE and in nonresidential fixed investment, a smaller decrease in state and local government spending, a deceleration in imports, and an acceleration in exports that were partly offset by a larger decrease in private inventory investment.

On the news, equity futures dipped modestly. Nonetheless, the key points today are that there is no significant change in underlying demand in the third quarter and recent monthly data indicate further strengthening.

Consensus Outlook
GDP in the third quarter improved to a 2.5 percent annualized increase, following an anemic 1.3 percent in the second quarter. The latest was the strongest growth rate since the third quarter of 2010-also posting at 2.5 percent. Demand numbers also improved as final sales of domestic product increased an annualized 3.6 percent in the third quarter after a 1.6 percent rise the prior quarter. Final sales to domestic purchasers (excludes net exports) gained 3.2 percent, following a 1.3 percent gain in the second quarter. Economy-wide inflation according to the GDP price index held steady at a 2.5 percent pace.

Gross Domestic Product represents the total value of the country's production during the period and consists of the purchases of domestically-produced goods and services by individuals, businesses, foreigners and government entities. Data are available in nominal and real (inflation-adjusted) dollars, as well as in index form. Economists and market players always monitor the real growth rates generated by the GDP quantity index or the real dollar value. The quantity index measures inflation-adjusted activity, but we are more accustomed to looking at dollar values.

Household purchases are counted in personal consumption expenditures -- durable goods (such as furniture and cars), nondurable goods (such as clothing and food) and services (such as banking, education and transportation). Private housing purchases are classified as residential investment. Businesses invest in nonresidential structures, durable equipment and computer software. Inventories at all stages of production are counted as investment. Only inventory changes, not levels, are added to GDP.

Net exports equal the sum of exports less imports. Exports are the purchases by foreigners of goods and services produced in the United States. Imports represent domestic purchases of foreign-produced goods and services and must be deducted from the calculation of GDP. Government purchases of goods and services are the compensation of government employees and purchases from businesses and abroad. Data show the portion attributed to consumption and investment. Government outlays for transfer payments or interest payments are not included in GDP.

The GDP price index is a comprehensive indicator of inflation. It is typically lower than the consumer price index because investment goods (which are in the GDP price index but not the CPI) tend to have lower rates of inflation than consumer goods and services. Note that contributions of each component, as averaged over the prior year, are tracked in the table below (components do not exactly sum to total due to chain-weighted methodology). Consumption expenditures, otherwise known as consumer spending, has over history been steadily making up an increasing share of GDP.  Why Investors Care
Real GDP growth is always quoted at a quarterly annual rate. It measures how much the economy has grown over a three-month period. Quarterly growth rates are often volatile; consequently, economists also like to look at the year-over-year growth in GDP. The yearly changes tend to be more stable.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
It is common to compare quarterly changes at annual rates in the GDP deflator. These can be volatile, just like the quarterly swings in real GDP growth; as a result, the trend in inflation is better determined by year- over- year changes.
Data Source: Haver Analytics

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