How Great Will Our 3rd-Quarter Recovery Be?

In the second quarter of 2009, between April and June, our GDP contracted one percent. That was better than most analysts expected (and much better than our first quarter implosion of negative-six percent), which is why early estimates of of GDP growth in the third quarter are surprisingly positive. What will economic growth be like in July through September? Let's take a look at the guesses:

q3 estimates gdp.png

These estimates, collected by the ever-handy folks at the Wall Street Journal's Real Time Economics blog, essentially predict what many economic writers have already said: That as I write these words, economic growth is turning into positive territory. But don't expect anything too robust. The median and mean of these figures is 2.5 percent.

To be sure, these are predictions about GDP estimates which will be calculated and endlessly re-calculated for months and years after the third quarter of 2009 is over. So these forecasts aren't fact. They're not even estimates of a number that we call fact. They're guesses about shadowy numbers -- much more Allegory of the Cave than science. But even shadows can give a sense of direction -- and the overwhelming consensus is that the recession will be technically over by September