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Economic Data (USA)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) "Preliminary" Released Today for Q1, 2006

The preliminary, real U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report for the first-quarter of 2006 was released this morning:

Consensus: +5.9 %
Actual: +5.3 %

The above percentages represent the quarter-to-quarter change in the Gross Domestic Product for the United States. The "consensus" is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure. The GDP report is produced by the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The final GDP report for Q1, 2006, which will contain the most authoritative data for the first-quarter, will be released on June 29, 2006.

The GDP is a very broad measure of economic activity for the entire United States, covering all sectors of the economy. The Commerce Department defines real GDP as, "the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States."

Here's a snippet from a press release issued by the Commerce Department this morning:

"Real gross domestic product--the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States--increased at an annual rate of 5.3 percent in the first quarter of 2006, according to preliminary estimates released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 1.7 percent.

The GDP estimates released today are based on more complete source data than were available for the advance estimates issued last month. In the advance estimates, the increase in real GDP was 4.8 percent (see "Revisions" on page 3).

The increase in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, equipment and software, and federal government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

The acceleration in real GDP growth in the first quarter primarily reflected an upturn in PCE for durable goods, an acceleration in exports, an upturn in federal government spending, and an acceleration in equipment and software that were partly offset by a downturn in private inventory investment.

Final sales of computers contributed 0.05 percentage point to the first-quarter growth in real GDP after contributing 0.33 percentage point to the fourth-quarter growth. Motor vehicle output subtracted 0.11 percentage point from the first-quarter growth in real GDP after subtracting 0.64 percentage point
from the fourth-quarter growth."

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