GDP Shows Recession End, Sort Of

Douglas A. McIntyre

Bull and Bear ImageThe Commerce Department has reported in Q3-2009 Gross Domestic Product figures.  We had 3.2% as the official estimate, but Goldman’s drop late yesterday took expectations lower.  Bloomberg had consensus at 3.0% for GDP.  The headline GDP number came in at +3.5%, above estimates and the first positive figure since the Q2 period in 2008.  So unofficially, the recession is over.  At least for 9 of every 10 workers in America.

There was a reading of +0.8 % in the price component via the PCE, but this was expected to be +1.3% according to CNBC and was +1.4% expected by Bloomberg.

The real-GDP figures were $13.04 trillion, up from the $12.9 trillion in Q2-2009.  The final sales figure for GDP was $13.16 trillion, up from $13.077 trillion in Q2-2009.  Nominal GDP came in at $14.3 trillion, up from $14.15 trillion in Q2-2009.

Calculating how much of this was from stimulus and incentives such as cash for clunkers and housing tax credits is something that will effectively not be entirely clear until the first revision in a month.  As a reminder, GDP will have its first revision in a month and a final revision at the end of December.

Unfortunately, we also got the final figure from the Labor Department on weekly jobless claims showing no help whatsoever.  There was a drop of 1,000 to 530,00 for the last week.  The army of unemployed measured by continuing jobless claims fell by 148,000 down to a level of 5,797,000.  That figure looks good on the surface, but there are still many not counted in that figure who have dropped off the maximum benefits period.