Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Productivity Approach Matches BEA

My productivity approach to forecasting 2009 Q1 real seasonally-adjusted GDP said that it would be 1.5 percent lower than 2008 Q4. Today the BEA reported that (according to its advance estimate) 2009 Q1 was 1.57 percent lower than 2008 Q4. [If you are wondering why the headlines about the BEA report say -6.1 percent, see here].

My spending approach was more optimistic, because I did not see any evidence of a significant real consumption decline. The BEA agrees with me on that too: it says real consumption expenditure ROSE 0.53% from 2008 Q4 to 2009 Q1. It says that real consumption spending increased in every one of the three major categories, especially durable goods.

The big surprise for me is that, according to BEA, nominal and real nonresidential structures investment fell MORE than residential structures investment did. I don't see where they get the evidence for that, given that (at least through Feb) the Census Bureau's measure of nominal non-residential construction spending had declined at half the rate that its measure of residential construction spending had.

No comments: