Great news: Q4 GDP rises to +0.1%

posted at 9:31 am on February 28, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

It beats contraction, which was the result of the initial estimate a month ago, but not by much.  The Commerce Department’s estimate of fourth-quarter economic growth improved to 0.1%, a rise of only two-tenths of a point, in the routine second iteration:

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 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 (that is, from the third quarter to the fourth quarter), according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 3.1 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the “advance” estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, real GDP declined 0.1 percent. The upward revision to the percent change in real GDP is smaller than the average revision from the advance to second estimate of 0.5 percentage point. While today’s release has revised the direction of change in real GDP, the general picture of the economy for the fourth quarter remains largely the same as what was presented last month (for more information, see “Revisions” on page 3).

I’m actually a little surprised that it didn’t go up more.  Later economic indicator reports for December made it seem that the initial estimate would get a substantial upward revision.  The key indicator of real final sales of domestic product rose more significantly, from 1.1% in the initial estimate to 1.7% in today’s report.  That’s not a robust number either, but the increase there with a lack of overall increase says that inventory depletion must have taken a bigger bite than first thought.

Reuters’ economists are less than impressed, too:

Gross domestic product expanded at a 0.1 percent annual rate, the Commerce Department said on Thursday, missing the 0.5 percent gain forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll.

The growth rate was the slowest since the first quarter of 2011 and far from what is needed to fuel a faster drop in the unemployment rate.

However, much of the weakness came from a slowdown in inventory accumulation and a sharp drop in military spending. These factors are expected to reverse in the first quarter.

Consumer spending was more robust by comparison, although it only expanded at a 2.1 percent annual rate.

Bear in mind that Q4 was the Christmas season, and one would expect consumer spending to perk up.  This is still an indicator that the economy remains moribund, and one would expect that the final estimate won’t change much from here.  The only bright spots — real final sales and consumer spending — are still in the 10-watt range.


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Green shoots. Just have to be patient and have faith.

a capella on February 28, 2013 at 9:35 AM

ALRIGHT the economic HOTROD is FIRED UP BABY!

Hey HotAir gang…

we are sitting on top of a quadillion bucks worth of mineral wealth and Barry and EPA won’t let us use it as a competitive edge….

“why?”

harlekwin15 on February 28, 2013 at 9:36 AM

Its a positive not a negative… all is well
-wh/lsm

cmsinaz on February 28, 2013 at 9:37 AM

Well at least that technically gets Obama off the hook for a pending recession. I mean that’s all that really matters to him at this point. How he can spin the perpetually sh-tty economy.

Doughboy on February 28, 2013 at 9:37 AM

The only bright spots — real final sales and consumer spending — are still in the 10-watt range.

An E-Z-Bake Oven has more wattage.

Happy Nomad on February 28, 2013 at 9:38 AM

I dunno, I bought quite a bit more than average in the 4th quarter. Since then, I have cut back my purchases, but the price of things has gone up enough to cause even higher spending. I always thought I was the single major driver of the economy… I guess not!

astonerii on February 28, 2013 at 9:40 AM

Rounding error.

monalisa on February 28, 2013 at 9:41 AM

The number is served to you courtesy of CBO (Conmen for Barack Obama).

Archivarix on February 28, 2013 at 9:41 AM

The Recession was officially over in 2009.
So I welcome barely getting out the red 4 years later..O_o

Electrongod on February 28, 2013 at 9:42 AM

I always thought I was the single major driver of the economy… I guess not!

astonerii on February 28, 2013 at 9:40 AM

I blame Guy Benson.

Ed Morrissey on February 28, 2013 at 9:42 AM

Forward turtle.

hillsoftx on February 28, 2013 at 9:42 AM

An E-Z-Bake Oven has more wattage.

Happy Nomad on February 28, 2013 at 9:38 AM

But, it is made in China./s

Jabberwock on February 28, 2013 at 9:42 AM

Unexpectedly.

Knott Buyinit on February 28, 2013 at 9:42 AM

we are sitting on top of a quadillion bucks worth of mineral wealth and Barry and EPA won’t let us use it as a competitive edge….

“why?”

harlekwin15 on February 28, 2013 at 9:36 AM

Beats me!

herm2416 on February 28, 2013 at 9:42 AM

I dunno, I bought quite a bit more than average in the 4th quarter. Since then, I have cut back my purchases, but the price of things has gone up enough to cause even higher spending. I always thought I was the single major driver of the economy… I guess not!

astonerii on February 28, 2013 at 9:40 AM

I’ve hardly spent anything thus far in 2013. There aren’t very many bargains to be had, I’m scared of what’s to come over the next few years under this regime, and gas prices keep going up.

Doughboy on February 28, 2013 at 9:44 AM

An E-Z-Bake Oven has more wattage.

Happy Nomad on February 28, 2013 at 9:38 AM

It’s an EZ Bake with a swirly florescent for heat

tomg51 on February 28, 2013 at 9:44 AM

Weee look at me. I’m doing such a great job at this president thing.

RDE2010 on February 28, 2013 at 9:45 AM

we are sitting on top of a quadillion bucks worth of mineral wealth and Barry and EPA won’t let us use it as a competitive edge….

“why?”

harlekwin15 on February 28, 2013 at 9:36 AM

Barry is saving it to use as a collateral for the next Chinese loan tranche.

Archivarix on February 28, 2013 at 9:49 AM

we are sitting on top of a quadillion bucks worth of mineral wealth and Barry and EPA won’t let us use it as a competitive edge….

“why?”

harlekwin15 on February 28, 2013 at 9:36 AM

How the hell is he supposed to bankrupt a Republic if he allows that mineral wealth to be extracted?

We’d all be rich, and the government would be solvent.

Idiot.

You’d make a terrible communist.

/

turfmann on February 28, 2013 at 9:49 AM

Great news: Q4 GDP rises toshot up +0.1%

FIFY.

Axeman on February 28, 2013 at 9:50 AM

The initial report was -0.1%, and today it’s +0.1%. Going by the last time I had a math class, that’s a net of 0% growth.

With this kind of boom, we all should go to our bosses and demand a raise, for the mad money businesses are raking in!

Liam on February 28, 2013 at 9:50 AM

Well at least that technically gets Obama off the hook for a pending recession. I mean that’s all that really matters to him at this point. How he can spin the perpetually sh-tty economy.

Doughboy on February 28, 2013 at 9:37 AM

The media will never let him get on the hook for this economy. The media and perpetual republican blame are his firewalls.

Cavalry on February 28, 2013 at 9:50 AM

We’re living in a country where “mediocracy” is the accepted norm. Never thought I’d live to see this happen.

rplat on February 28, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Food prices up, gas prices up, insurance costs up, property taxes up, clothing costs up, transportation costs up.

It’s awesome the way things are improving.

fogw on February 28, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Its a positive not a negative… all is well
-wh/lsm

cmsinaz on February 28, 2013 at 9:37 AM

Just enough to proclaim “Not A Recession!!”

Jeff Weimer on February 28, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Just a bump in the road.

BobMbx on February 28, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Wow, my lib friends think this is great news because it didn’t go down.

Yet, they can’t seem to explain why we aren’t in utopia yet. Oh wait, Republicans!!!! is why.

goflyers on February 28, 2013 at 9:53 AM

FYI……Rand Paul on Glenn Beck radio………..WEAK TEA.

Essentially he will not vote principle if it looks like the nominee is going to get through or whatever(Kerry, Hagel, etc.)

Not impressed.

And on the economy?……check out JCPenney and Kohls results……not good.

PappyD61 on February 28, 2013 at 9:53 AM

we are sitting on top of a quadillion bucks worth of mineral wealth and Barry and EPA won’t let us use it as a competitive edge….

“why?”

harlekwin15 on February 28, 2013 at 9:36 AM

Obama doesn’t want us using China’s resources. We have already used more than our fair share.

Axeman on February 28, 2013 at 9:53 AM

A positive change of .2% is well within the margin of error and should be easily achieved with minor tweaks of a few variables. What’s notable is that they couldn’t massage the data to get a higher increase in what is usually the best quarter of the year. This tells me that the economy is in terrible shape and we are probably already in a recession. The growing economic drags of Obamacare, Dodd/Frank, federal debt and inflation are only going to make things worse throughout the rest of 2013.

RadClown on February 28, 2013 at 9:54 AM

Yet, they can’t seem to explain why we aren’t in utopia yet. Oh wait, Republicans!!!! is why.

goflyers on February 28, 2013 at 9:53 AM

Yes, and just think how much better this news would have been if they could just–for the good of the country–outlaw the Republican party.

Axeman on February 28, 2013 at 9:54 AM

The media will never let him get on the hook for this economy. The media and perpetual republican blame are his firewalls.

Cavalry on February 28, 2013 at 9:50 AM

Well cut the man some slack. He inherited a tough situation over FOUR YEARS AGO!!!

Doughboy on February 28, 2013 at 9:55 AM

I thought when the campaign was over they’d stop cooking the books

Slade73 on February 28, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Yet, they can’t seem to explain why we aren’t in utopia yet. Oh wait, Republicans!!!! is why.

goflyers on February 28, 2013 at 9:53 AM

That really is their argument isn’t it? As long as the opposition has any power at all, the economy wont get better. The counter-revolutionaries are always the reason none of this works.

RadClown on February 28, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Yepper Jeff

cmsinaz on February 28, 2013 at 10:10 AM

So the economy basically made up for the recent DECLINE, resulting in basically NO GROWTH – a ‘break-even’, if you will. Something like 2% in growth is required just to keep up with population growth!

This President has been an unmtigated FAILURE. How anyone can defend him as anything BUT is mind-numbing.

easyt65 on February 28, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Near-future catchphrase from the ObamiNation Presstitute Organs:

Stagflation – Catch it before it goes out of style again.

Steve Eggleston on February 28, 2013 at 10:15 AM

+0.1%

Fudged.

Dusty on February 28, 2013 at 10:15 AM

WHHEEEEEEEEW /So glad we’re not in a recession!

Jackalope on February 28, 2013 at 10:20 AM

I’m surprised it didn’t go up more too. I spent enough on guns and ammo the last three months to feed a family of 4 for a year. Oh, wait…don’t tell anyone.

Wyznowski on February 28, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Lies, damned lies, and statistics…

ExpressoBold on February 28, 2013 at 10:38 AM

Imagine if you would what the LSM would be reporting of these numbers had the occupant of 1600 Penn Ave had been Pres. Romney instead of Barky.

Yeah, that’s what I thought too.

D-fusit on February 28, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Welcome to the new “Democratic Normal”. Get your food stamps yet?

GarandFan on February 28, 2013 at 10:53 AM

Imagine if you would what the LSM would be reporting of these numbers had the occupant of 1600 Penn Ave had been Pres. Romney instead of Barky.

Yeah, that’s what I thought too.

D-fusit on February 28, 2013 at 10:41 AM

The difference is it wouldn’t look like this if Romney were President.

Tater Salad on February 28, 2013 at 10:56 AM

Meanwhile

DarkCurrent on February 28, 2013 at 10:57 AM

The counter-revolutionaries are always the reason none of this works.

Yup…and if the revolutionaries fulfill the dream of that Utopia of theirs, and no counter-revolutionary party to blame when things don’t work, who are they going to blame, ’cause it’ll never be them.

hawkeye54 on February 28, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Solid meh minus. Those green shoots are the marijuana plants the White House is smoking if they think we buy their spin.

Philly on February 28, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Which means the next quarter will be negative and the double dip recession under Obowma continues.

Obowma spent 1 trillion dollars in the stimulus while unemployment is higher NOW.

dthorny on February 28, 2013 at 11:19 AM

Bush’s fault….oh…I mean FORWARD!

SPGuy on February 28, 2013 at 11:26 AM

4th quarter GDP estimated at -0.1%

You are going to regret that.
-White House

4th quarter GDP has been revised to +0.1%

weaselyone on February 28, 2013 at 11:48 AM

We have turned the corner!

steebo77 on February 28, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Of course, this damn earthquake, tsunami, hurricane,
ATM’s,
Sequester is going to ruin it!!!!

ToddPA on February 28, 2013 at 11:56 AM

I’m surprised it didn’t go up more too. I spent enough on guns and ammo the last three months to feed a family of 4 for a year. Oh, wait…don’t tell anyone.

Wyznowski on February 28, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Me too, but all that stuff is at the bottom of the lake since the unfortunate boating accident.

I wonder how much economic output the firearms industry was responsible for contributing?

stvnscott on February 28, 2013 at 12:02 PM

The initial report was -0.1%, and today it’s +0.1%. Going by the last time I had a math class, that’s a net of 0% growth.

With this kind of boom, we all should go to our bosses and demand a raise, for the mad money businesses are raking in!

Liam on February 28, 2013 at 9:50 AM

EXACTLY. Just wait till tomorrows figures are “revised downward”.

Bulletchaser on February 28, 2013 at 12:22 PM

the terrorists have been defeated, and the economy is roaring back, give Obama a third term!!!

burserker on February 28, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Less than expected, but everyone was expecting 4Q12 numbers to be punk, so no big surprise …. weekly first time jobless claims took a big drop – seems like they may be heading below 340K mark, and there is a lot of information coming out tomorrow, so investors are taking it all in stride … markets are on the rise again, next few weeks are going to be very interesting …

TouchdownBuddha on February 28, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Solid performance.

Kenya grew – 1.2%
Cuba grew – .01%
Afghanistan grew 4.5%
Pah-kee-stahn grew 1.1%

We did beat out Kenya so we are doing well.

acyl72 on February 28, 2013 at 1:33 PM

Man…Afghanistan grew more! We are doomed!

SPGuy on February 28, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Funny, the numbers have been revised down in every other quarter in 2012, but unexpectedly, when the number is a negative, the number is revised up.

Playin’ us for fools.

Jvette on February 28, 2013 at 2:08 PM

nice job little man

Hummer53 on February 28, 2013 at 2:37 PM

“Obama won; shut up” — HotAirLib

Schadenfreude on February 28, 2013 at 2:48 PM

Great news: Q4 GDP rises to +0.1%

Likely rounding error…wonder how much into the negatives they’ll revise this two months or so from now?

Dr. ZhivBlago on February 28, 2013 at 4:05 PM

I’m actually a little surprised that it didn’t go up more.

Why? The only reason it went up at all was simply to avoid the risk of a second quarter of contraction, which would officially be the beginning of a recession. Fudging it to 0.1% was sufficient for their purposes.

cicerone on February 28, 2013 at 10:50 PM

Ed,

The number is fake. Why can’t we talk about the fact that it’s fake? I really don’t get it.

dogsoldier on March 1, 2013 at 8:03 AM

On the other hand, we finally get to see the revised number get more coverage than the original. Wonder why….

runawayyyy on March 1, 2013 at 9:24 AM