GDP Revised Downward, Again

By Megan McArdle

Estimated GDP growth for the third quarter has been revised downward again, to 2.2% from an initial estimate of 3.5% (it was also revised downward last month).  That means that the Cash-for-Clunkers program accounts for most of the growth:

Motor vehicle output added 1.45 percentage points to the third-quarter change in real GDP after adding 0.19 percentage point to the second-quarter change. Final sales of computers subtracted 0.08 percentage point from the third-quarter change in real GDP after subtracting 0.04 percentage point from the second-quarter change.

Since cash-for-clunkers probably moved auto purchases forward, rather than generating actual new demand for autos, this considerably dampens hopes for a "V" shaped recovery.  As Reinhart and Rogoff predicted last winter, the economy is probably going to putter along for a while before it generates new jobs and demand.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2009/12/gdp-revised-downward-again/32454/