Third Quarter GDP Growth Revised Downward

Our not so robust recovery is weaker than first reported:

Real gross domestic product … increased at an annual rate of 2.0 percent in the third quarter of 2011 … according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. … The GDP estimates released today are based on more complete source data than were available for the “advance” estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, the increase in real GDP was 2.5 percent…

So once again the advance estimate captured headlines and allowed policymakers to say hurray, things are improving, we don’t have to act. I disagreed at the time — even 2.5 percent is a sputtering recovery compared to what we need to reemploy the millions of jobless and policymakers have waited far too long already — but the headline figure was enough to allow policymakers to “wait and see.” Now, with growth even lower than we thought, will policymakers change course? Though I see no reason to let them off the hook, I gave up on fiscal policy authorities long ago. I just hope they won’t make things worse. But monetary authorities ought to be acting now to bolster the economy further, especially given the substantial risks from Europe and elsewhere, and it’s disappointing that they haven’t done more already.

About Mark Thoma 243 Articles

Affiliation: University of Oregon

Mark Thoma is a member of the Economics Department at the University of Oregon. He joined the UO faculty in 1987 and served as head of the Economics Department for five years. His research examines the effects that changes in monetary policy have on inflation, output, unemployment, interest rates and other macroeconomic variables with a focus on asymmetries in the response of these variables to policy changes, and on changes in the relationship between policy and the economy over time. He has also conducted research in other areas such as the relationship between the political party in power, and macroeconomic outcomes and using macroeconomic tools to predict transportation flows. He received his doctorate from Washington State University.

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