U.S. GDP upward: upward trend and growth factors

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07th November, 2013 – Previously published in

The GDP of the United States has grown by 2.8% in the third quarter of 2013. The data is not definitive, as the Commerce Department noted in the statement of the “Bureau” of Economic Analysis. On December 5th grew know for sure how much the world’s largest economy. The reason for the review is that today’s announcement is based on partial data. Even so, the available data seem to point to the rate at which the U.S. economy grows. Especially because we know its main components and their behavior, in this quarter, as in the previous two.

The trend is upward: in the first quarter, the United States grew by almost 2% (1.8%), the second, expanded 2.5% and now 2.8%. The various panels of economists from various sources (both Bloomberg Business Week, such as The Wall Street Journal) betting on an increase of 2%. Have fallen short by 0.8%.Thought, and said so, that the effects of “Sequester” with public spending cuts implied, negatively affect economic growth. The reality is that the cuts in public spending (-1.7% in its contribution to GDP) have affected less than estimated, at least in this quarter. It was not until the fourth and final quarter of the year, to know with certainty how much you have impacted, given that, in October, there was a partial government shutdown (from 1 to 17 October) and 800,000 public employees went to their home without pay. This consumption will be affected, but it is also true that the last quarter of the year coincides with consumer campaigns, from Halloween to Christmas, when personal consumption rebounded strongly.

Private consumption, between July and September has been a component that has contributed to economic growth, with a growth of 1.5%, even lower than in the previous quarter (+1.8%). Instead, they have been exports (+4.5%) and residential investment (+14.6%) who have driven over GDP. Imports have declined. And at the same time, highlights the increased level of household disposable income (+4.5%) as well as their savings rate (+4.7%). It follows that consumers are more cautious since, even though consumption has increased, so have moderately, opting instead to save more, despite having more higher level of income and purchasing power.

Although the report is still pending on the unemployment rate in October-delayed by the government shutdown in the first half of the month-, we started with an unemployment rate over the population, 7.2%. That is, there are eleven million Americans looking for work. Among them, there are four and a half million are considered “long term unemployed”, because they have looking for work, without finding, for a period of 27 weeks. In Spain, for putting things in perspective, the unemployment rate is 25.98%, more than 5.9 million and two million unemployed are “long-term” because they are in that position for more than two years. True, comparisons are odious, the saying goes: in particular, in this case, since, in America, anything other than full employment is considered a disaster. Perhaps for that reason, because it is expected an unemployment rate of 7.2% or higher, consumers have decided to be prudent in their spending.

Worth staying with photography that offers temporary longitudinal analysis: average quarterly growth since June 2009, continuously, from 2.25%. And so far this year, with growth rising trend from quarter to quarter. Although the effects of the government shutdown in October will be felt and, perhaps, GDP does not grow beyond 2.4% in the last quarter of the year, at least you can see a positive trend upward, consolidated in early 2014, would put the U.S. economy in a position to grow at around 3%, as expected and want the Federal Reserve to reduce the unemployment rate from 6.5% level.