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News Link • Economy - Economics USA

It Was Much, Much Worse: BEA Revises Downward 2007, 2008, 2009 GDP Data

Apparently the "Great Recession" has been worse than our government has previously reported. And the recovery's brightest moment, Q4 2009, has been revised down from 5.6% to 5.0%. Similarly Q3 2009 dropped from 2.2% to 1.6%. And so on. The bottom of the recession was shifted back one quarter, with Q4 2008 now reported to have contracted at a -6.8% rate, revised down from the previously reported -5.4% rate. Most quarters of 2007, 2008 and 2009 have been revised down substantially, shifting the recession shown in the chart above back in time. Again, this supports the thesis that economic data collected by the government is done in a very antiquated fashion. If they are still "revising" data from 2007, then what value can be put in current numbers (especially given the extremely limited value of GDP numbers in the first place). Keep in mind that, while these revisions are going on, Rick Davis at Consumer Metrics Institute is measuring consumer durable goods activity in real time. Consumer durable goods is a much more important data piece than overall GDP since it is a very good indication of where the economy is relative to the business cycle (Climbing consumer durables indicates strong central bank manipulation of the economy, i.e. heavy money printing. Declining durable goods tends to indicate an economy adjusting away from a manipulated money printing "boom" period). This is all much more valuable and timely data for businesses and investors than the government data, and you get it in real time. So where does CMI put things right now? Here's Davis again: Our Daily Growth Index has dropped to new recent lows, and it is now contracting at a -3.4% rate.

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