Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
Real GDP was revised up from 2.7 percent to 3.1 percent in the third quarter, according to the third estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The upward revision—which was modestly above the consensus estimate from the Bloomberg survey—was largely due to upward adjustments to real personal consumption expenditures, real exports, real state and local government spending, and a downward revision to real imports (which are a subtraction in GDP accounting). Real consumption expenditures were revised up from 1.4 percent in the second estimate to 1.6 percent. All three components (durables, nondurables, and services) were nudged up slightly. Net exports added an additional 0.2 percentage points to third-quarter real GDP growth, as real export growth was revised up from 1.1 percent to 1.9 percent and real import growth was revised down from roughly flat to −0.6 percent. Also, real state and local government spending was revised up from a decrease of 0.1 percent to a slight (0.3 percent) gain. If that gain holds through benchmark revisions it will mark the first positive quarterly increase for the series since 2009:Q3. Relative to the initial release for the third quarter, real GDP has been revised up by 1.1 percentage points. However, the primary contributors to that gain were private inventories (which added nearly 0.9 percentage points to real GDP growth after both revisions) and real exports (which were revised up from a 1.6 percent decrease in the advanced release to 1.9 percent in the third estimate). Upward revisions to these categories, given the limited information contained in the initial release and the somewhat ambiguous growth signal from inventory swings, don't necessarily point to stronger growth in Q4. Unfortunately, a more robust signal of carry-over momentum comes from real personal consumption expenditures, which were revised down 0.4 percentage points from the initial-to-final release.