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Economy in Brief

US 3Q GDP Still Up 4.9%, Profits Still Down
by Tom Moeller December 20, 2007

Growth in U.S. real GDP last quarter was unrevised at 4.9% (AR) after the sharp upward revision last month. The figures from the Commerce Department were as expected. Most components were little revised, including the sharp drop in corporate profits.

Last quarter's growth in GDP still is estimated to have stemmed mostly (1.4 percentage points) from improvement in net exports, led by 19.1% (10.3% y/y) growth in real exports.

Inventories added a revised 0.9 percentage points which was negligibly lower than estimated last month. Faster accumulation added 0.2 points to growth to 2Q growth.

Corporate profits are estimated to have fallen 4.9% at an annual rate (+1.8% y/y) versus an initial read of a 4.6% decline. The housing market's decline is till estimated to have lowered the financial sector' earnings by 22.7% (AR, +2.6% y/y). Domestic nonfinancial sector profitability also fell 7.0% (AR, -8.6% y/y) as costs rose. The lower dollar boosted rest of world earnings by 38.0% (AR, 36.5% y/y). Revisions to each of these figures were moderate.

Growth in final sales to domestic purchasers was left about unchanged at 2.4%.

A revised 20.7% collapse in residential investment last quarter (AR, -15.9% y/y) was little changed and subtracted 1.1 percentage points from growth during 3Q.

Strength in business fixed investment continued and was little revised at 8.7% (6.0% y/y). That added 1.0 percentage points to 3Q growth. Spending on structures grew 17.0% (16.1% y/y) and spending on equipment & software grew 5.1% (AR, 1.8% y/y).

Growth in real personal consumption expenditures was little changed at 2.8% (2.9% y/y) but it still was double growth during 2Q.

The GDP chain price index was little changed at a 1.0%.

Can You Hear Me Now? is the latest from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and analyzes recent changes to communications from the Fed. It can be found here.

Chained 2000$, % AR 3Q '07
 Final
3Q '07 Preliminary 3Q ' 07
 Advance
2Q '07 Y/Y 2006 2005 2004
GDP 4.9 4.9 3.9 3.8 2.8 2.9 3.1 3.6
  Inventory Effect 0.9 1.0 0.4 0.2 -0.4 0.1 -0.2 0.4
Final Sales 4.0 3.9 3.5 3.6 3.1 2.8 3.3 3.3
Foreign Trade Effect 1.4 1.4 0.9 1.3 0.9 -0.1 -0.2 -0.7
Domestic Final Demand 2.5 2.4 2.5 2.1 2.1 2.7 3.3 3.8
Chained GDP Price Index 1.0 0.9 0.8 2.6 2.4 2.6 1.7 2.1
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