A month after each quarter ends, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) releases an advance estimate of the nation’s output of good and services, or GDP. As the Bureau receives more specific data, they revise their advance estimate, calling this revision a preliminary estimate.
On 5/29/09, the BEA released their preliminary estimate of first quarter GDP. The good news is that GDP didn’t fall as much as indicated by the advance estimate released at the end of April. It was “only” a decrease of 5.7% from the last quarter of 2008. Defense spending decreased 6.8%. While personal spending was up 1.5%, gross domestic purchases of goods and services declined by 7.5%.
Recent signs indicate that the deceleration in the economy has slowed. New housing permits have seen an increase. The rate of applicants for unemployment is less jaw-dropping. The manufacturing index, while not positive, has turned around from its steep decline. This is a big ship that had lots of momentum in the wrong direction. It will take a while.