Tomorrow morning, the Commerce Department will release a revised estimate of 1st quarter GDP growth. Last month, the advance estimate gauged the real growth rate at 0.6% (an ever-so-slight acceleration from the prior quarter's rate of 0.58%). I noted at the time that it gets increasingly difficult to flog the recession horse when your real growth rate is not only positive (and exceeding economists' expectations), but accelerating.
Still, an acceleration of 0.02% per year per quarter is admittedly a dainty one. Interestingly, on the day following the advance estimate, the WSJ Economics blog cited research suggesting the 1Q08 number would likely need to be substantially revised upward, perhaps as high as 0.9% or 1.0%.
If tomorrow's revision does take us that high, the recession fetishists (so resolute in their gloomy prophecies that they can no longer be swayed by mere evidence of economic expansion) will again need to find somewhere new to haul the goal posts.
Of course, even absent an upward revision (indeed, even in the face of a downward revision of up to 0.6 percentage points), we'll still have no indication of a single quarter of contraction. Alas, that fails to impress high-minded thinkers in media and politics who are unmoved by "technical definitions" of "elite economists" and anyone else who fails to recognize the world is surely at an end.
With that as backdrop, let's get a quick read of our own collective malaise. Where do you think the first quarter estimate will be, after tomorrow's revision? The initial estimate showed a growth rate of 0.6% and economists on average predict it will be revised upward to 0.9%.
Handcrafted by Flip on May 28, 2008 |
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