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Pundits Cheer Bogus GDP Figures   July 31st, 2013


More observations...

It is being reported today that GDP in Q1 came in lower than initially reported while Q2 is being projected above estimates.

Gross domestic product expanded at a 1.7 percent annualized rate in the second quarter, the government reported Wednesday. That's up from the 1.1 percent rate in the first quarter (revised downward from 1.8 percent) and much higher than forecasts of a 1.0 percent rise.

So pundits are ecstatic because Q2's initial GDP forecast came in 0.7% higher than expected the same day Q1's revised GDP came in 0.7% lower than was initially projected. Keep in mind that Q1 was initially being expected to come in at 2.4%; it then came in at an initial 1.8% and was revised downward to 1.1%.

Is it possible that Q2's initial forecast is as inaccurate as Q1's initial forecast was? We'll see.

And even if GDP growth were 1.7% as reported, that still qualifies as pitiful growth. Almost five years into the economic crisis, we still haven't seen growth that comes close to a typical post-recession recovery.

The telling figure is labor participation. This figure tells what percentage of the population 16 and over has a job.

As this graph shows, the percentage of adults that have a job continues to follow a downward trajectory. And in the last four years, the occasional drop in the unemployment rate has generally been due to people leaving the labor market--giving up looking for a job--rather than much of an increase in people finding a job.

Unfortunately, today's jubilation about GDP is completely disconnected from reality.

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