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U.S. GDP Current Statistics

Each Estimate of the Economic Growth Rate Since 2006

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car being made in a factory

Cars made in the U.S. boost GDP growth.

Credit: Bill Pugliano / Getty Images
home under construction

New home construction boosts growth.

Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Shoppers

Consumer spending is the largest driver of growth.

Credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images
GDP, or Gross Domestic Product, is updated each month by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). It releases the U.S. GDP growth report, which describes how fast the economy grew in the last quarter. The ideal growth rate is between 2-3%. This is fast enough to provide enough jobs but not so fast it will create inflation. Of course, you'd like a little faster growth coming out of a recession, when inflation isn't a danger, to lower the unemployment rate.

 

Each quarterly GDP report gets three releases:

  1. Advance Report: Comes out one month after the quarter ends. This can often be wildly different from the final report, simply because all of the trade and business inventory data is not in yet.
  2. Second Report: Comes out two months after the end of the quarter. This is usually pretty realistic. Formerly called the Preliminary Report.
  3. Third Report: Comes out three months after the end of the quarter. Usually only tweaks the Second Report. Formerly known as Final Report.

To understand the government's GDP reports as they are released, it's helpful to see how much they change each month. Here is an archive of blog posts for each GDP release since the fourth quarter of 2006. Please note that the BEA has revised GDP statistics as follows:

  • July 31, 2013 - The BEA revised all figures since 1929 based on improved estimates of intellectual property values and pensions.
  • July 27, 2012 - All figures since Q1 2009.
  • July 29, 2011 - All figures since Q1 2006.
  • May 25, 2010 - All figures since 1929.
  • July 31, 2009 - All figures since 1929.

The most recent figures are given first, with prior figure in parentheses with the year they were revised. Sorry it's a little confusing, but it's important to see how the data is changed. These changes aren't easily available anywhere else.

2013 GDP for the Year: 1.9% 

Q4 2013: 2.6%

Q3 2013: 4.1%

Q2 2013: 2.5%

Q1 2013: 1.1% (1.8% in 2012 estimate)

2012 GDP for the Year: 2.8% (2.2% in 2012 estimate)

Q4 2012 GDP: .1% (.4% in 2012 estimate)

  • Advance Report - A cutback in Federal military spending contributed to a contraction of .1%.
  • Second Report - Private sector growth barely overcame a 22% cutback in Federal defense spending, driving growth to a positive .1% rate.
  • Final Report - Business and consumer spending drove a .4% GDP growth rate.

Q3 2012 GDP: 2.8% (3.1% in 2012 estimate)

  • Advance Report - Growth in durable goods, consumables and government spending boosted growth to a barely healthy 2%.
  • Second Report - Better data on exports and inventory convinced the BEA to revise growth up to 2.7%.
  • Final Report - The best growth rate all year! The final estimate came in at a solid 3.1%.

Q2 2012 GDP: 1.2% (1.3% in 2012 estimate)

  • Advance Report - Cutbacks in household and government spending reduced growth to 1.5%.
  • Second Report - Economic growth is better, at 1.7%, but still hampered by pre-election caution.
  • Final Report - The economy actually only grew 1.3%.

Q1 2012 GDP: 3.7% (2% in 2012 estimate)

2011 GDP for the Year: 1.8% (1.7% in 2012 estimate)

Q4 2011 GDP: 4.9% (4.1% in 2012 estimate)

  • Advance Report - The year ended on an upbeat note, as GDP growth came in at 2.8%, the best in a year and a half.
  • Second Report - The BEA revised its estimate upwards to 3%.
  • Final Report - The BEA's kept its final estimate at a healthy 3% growth rate.

Q3 2011 GDP: 1.4% (1.3% in 2012 estimate)

Q2 2011 GDP: 3.2% (2.5% in 2012 estimate)

  • Advance Report - Growth was only 1.3%, thanks to a delay in parts from Japan, a result of the March tsunami.
  • Second Report - The BEA revised its estimate down for the second quarter to 1%.
  • Final Report - Whoops! Looks like GDP was 1.3% after all.

Q1 2011 GDP: -1.3% (0.1% in 2012) (July 2011 revision 0.4%)

2010 GDP for the Year: 2.5% (2012 revision was 2.4%, 2011 revision was 3.0%, 2010 revision was 2.8%)

Q4 2010 GDP: 2.8% (2.4% in 2012 revision, 2.3% in 2011)

Q3 2010 GDP: 2.8% (2.6% in 2012 revision, 2.5% in 2011 revision)

  • Advance Report - The economy only grew 2%, prompting additional Fed easing.
  • Second Report - Growth was revised up to 2.5%, due businesses increasing their inventory levels.
  • Final Report - The economy grew 2.6%, better than last quarter but still not enough to create a lot of jobs.

Q2 2010 GDP: 3.9% (2.2% in 2012 revision, 3.8% in 2011)

  • Advance Report - Businesses buying durable goods drove 2.4% economic growth.
  • Second Report - Growth was revised down to 1.6%, due to less inventory replenishment than the BEA originally thought.
  • Final Report - Economy chugs along at a 1.7% growth rate, driven by business spending on equipment and computers.

Q1 2010 GDP: 1.6% (2.3% in 2012 revision, 3.9% in 2011, 3.7% in 2010)

  • Advance Report - The economy grew 3.2% because Americans are shopping again.
  • Second Report - Economic growth was revised down to 3% thanks to new data showing higher exports.
  • Final Report - Turns out the economy grew 2.7% in Q1.

2009 GDP for the Year: -2.8% (2012 revision was -3.1%, 2011 was -3.5%, 2010 was -2.9%, Original estimate was -2.4%)

Q4 2009 GDP: 3.9% (2012 revision was 4%, 2011 was 3.8%, 2010 was 5%)

  • Advance Report - The economy grew 5.7%, but half of that growth was based on businesses re-stocking low inventory.
  • Second Report - Economic growth was revised up to 5.9%, but businesses re-stocking low inventory drove 4 points of that growth.
  • Third Report - The report said 5.6% growth, but after taking out restocking of low inventory, the real number was 1.8%.

Q3 2009 GDP: 1.3% (2012 revision was 1.4%, 2011 was 1.7%)

Q2 2009 GDP: -0.4%, (2012 revision was -.03%, 2011 revision kept it at -.7%)

  • Advance Report - Government spending propped up the economy, which contracted 1%.
  • Second Report - In a very unusual move, the BEA did not adjust its estimate, which remained at -1%.
  • Third Report - The economy declined .7% in Q2 2009.

Q1 2009 GDP: -5.4% (2012 revision was -5.3%, 2011 was -6.7%, 2010 revision was -4.9%, 2009 revision was -6.4%)

  • Advance Report: - The economy fell 6.1%, partly due to leaner inventories.
  • Second Report: - The economy contracted 5.7% in Q1 2009, according to revised figures in the preliminary GDP report.
  • Final Report: - Growth was down 5.5%. The economy contracted more than 5% for two quarters in a row, the first time since the Great Depression.
  • For earlier years, see U.S. GDP History

 

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