EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EST, Thursday, January 21, 2016
BEA 16—03

Retail Trade Led Growth in the Third Quarter
Gross Domestic Product by Industry: Third Quarter 2015

Retail trade; health care and social assistance; and agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting were the leading contributors to the increase in U.S. economic growth in the third quarter of 2015, according to statistics on the breakout of gross domestic product (GDP) by industry released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Overall, 15 of 22 industry groups contributed to the 2.0 percent increase in real GDP in the third quarter.

Chart of Real GDP and Real Value Added by Sector
  • For the retail trade industry group, real value added—a measure of an industry's contribution to GDP—increased 7.1 percent in the third quarter, after increasing 3.7 percent in the second quarter. The third quarter growth primarily reflected an increase in general merchandise stores.
  • Health care and social assistance increased 5.5 percent, after increasing 2.1 percent. The increase reflected growth in both ambulatory health care services and hospitals.
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting increased 37.5 percent, after decreasing 3.9 percent. This was the largest increase since the first quarter of 2013 and was primarily attributed to the farm industry.
Chart of Real Value Added by Industry

Other highlights

  • Real GDP growth slowed to 2.0 percent in the third quarter, from 3.9 percent in the second quarter. Finance and insurance was the leading contributor to the deceleration in real GDP in the third quarter. Real value added for the industry group decreased 1.3 percent, after increasing 12.4 percent in the second quarter.
  • Wholesale trade decreased 5.8 percent, after increasing 8.4 percent. This was the largest decrease since the second quarter of 2009 and was the second leading contributor to the slowdown.
  • Information increased 0.4 percent, after increasing 9.3 percent, primarily reflecting an increase in information and data processing services.

Gross output by industry

Real gross output—a measure of an industry's sales or receipts, which includes sales to final users in the economy (GDP) and sales to other industries (intermediate inputs)—increased in the third quarter. This reflected increases in real gross output for both the private goods- and services-producing sectors, as well as the government sector.

Chart of Real Value Added by Industry
  • Real gross output for agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting increased 12.6 percent, after decreasing 4.0 percent in the second quarter. This was the largest increase since the first quarter of 2013.
  • Finance and insurance decreased 6.4 percent, after increasing 2.3 percent. This was the largest decrease since the second quarter of 2012, primarily reflecting a decrease in securities, commodity contracts, and investments.
  • Health care and social assistance increased 7.9 percent, after increasing 3.8 percent, reflecting an increase in ambulatory health care services. This was the largest increase since the first quarter of 2012.

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BEA's national, international, regional, and industry estimates; BEA news releases; and related articles in the Survey of Current Business are available for free on BEA's Web site at www.bea.gov.  The entire historical time series for these estimates can be accessed in BEA's Interactive Data Application at www.bea.gov/itable/.  Stay informed about BEA developments by signing up for our email subscription service or following us on Twitter @BEA_News.  You also can access BEA data by registering for our Data Application Programming Interface, or API. (www.bea.gov/API/signup/index.cfm).

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BEA's news release schedule is available at www.bea.gov/newsreleases/2016rd.htm.

Next release -- April 21, 2016 at 8:30 A.M. EDT for:
Gross Domestic Product by Industry: Fourth Quarter and Annual 2015