U.S. GDP: The Devil Is in the Details
While the latest U.S. GDP numbers show a 1.1% real growth rate for the second quarter of 2016, the real story is in the details, which show a mix of good news and bad.
The nominal number, 3.43%, was good. But inflation knocked it down to 1.1%, reminding us that inflation can be a real drag on performance.
Consumer spending was decent, at 2.94%, and net exports (0.1%) are finally positive for two quarters in a row.
Inventories dragged at -1.26%, which can actually be a good thing.
Low inventories signal a potential boost for next quarter, as drained inventory will need to be resupplied.
Now, for the bad news.
While the growth rate is disappointing, I'm much more discouraged over the weakening trend since Q3 2014.
And while the quarter's 1.1% growth rate is disappointing, I'm much more discouraged over the weakening trend since the third quarter of 2014, when GDP growth was 5%.
Since then, the numbers haven't moved out of the 0.7% to 2.6% range.
Long-term trends seem to show an economy growing at a tepid pace, with more downside risk than upside potential.
Pete Gioia is an economist with CBIA. Follow him on Twitter @CTEconomist.
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