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 1.8 percent in the third quarter of 2011 … according to the “third” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second quarter, real GDP increased 1.3 percent.
The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the “second” estimate issued last month. In the second estimate, the increase in real GDP was 2.0 percent ….
And in the first estimate, the increase in real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) GDP was 2.5 percent. Which means growth in the third quarter was much closer to the paltry rate we saw from April to June — well under the long-term trend rate of about 2.75 percent — than the encouraging, near-trend rate initially thought.
Consumer spending in the quarter was disappointing. So were corporate profits: After a banner year in 2010 that helped to fuel the anti-corporate protests this year, they’re on pace to grow more slowly than in even that dismal, recessionary year, 2009.
We can hope that the fourth quarter will have been better: The job-market numbers have at least shown some signs of firming up, though not of taking off. But as things stand, July to September represented the second straight quarter in which year-on-year growth was less than 2 percent. Research by the Federal Reserve indicates a 70 percent chance of a recession after even one quarter in which that’s the case.
Just in case you’ve waited until the last minute to put in your requests to Santa.
– By Kyle Wingfield