Frequently Asked Questions
Guidelines for Citing BEA Information | ID: 1299 | Created: Apr-27-2018
Since 2015, BEA has been conducting a comprehensive review of the source data and seasonal adjustment methods that are used in constructing all the quarterly GDP estimates. Based on this extensive review, BEA is confident our Q1 estimates represent reliable signals of economic activity in the quarter and that we have successfully addressed residual seasonality in more recent time spans. The release of the comprehensive update scheduled for July 27th will reflect improvements that further address residual seasonality over longer time spans and include updated quarterly estimates that reflect revised seasonal factors.
For a preview of the update, see the article in this April’s Survey of Current Business, particularly the section on our improvements in seasonal adjustment methodology, along with Table 1 that summarizes adjustments made in previous annual updates and identifies the time spans that will be affected by extending these improvements further back in history. Early this fall we will publish a follow-up to the July 2016 Survey article, “Residual Seasonality in GDP and GDI,” discussing in detail how BEA fully addressed residual seasonality as part of the comprehensive update and how it will be monitored and mitigated going forward.
In addition, as part of the comprehensive update this summer, BEA will introduce new, not seasonally adjusted estimates for GDP, GDI, and their major components for 2002 forward. These statistics will provide data users with a new tool for evaluating the economy’s growth that will complement BEA’s regularly published seasonally adjusted estimates. The unadjusted figures will be presented in current-dollars, chained-dollars, and price indexes. Going forward, the not seasonally adjusted quarterly estimates will be published with the regular (seasonally adjusted) quarterly GDP/GDI release.
BEA has examined the components of GDP and has not identified any specific, consistent component as a driver of weaker aggregate GDP growth in first quarters. A recent FEDS Note is consistent with this analysis. (See “Another Look at Residual Seasonality in GDP” by Paul Lengermann, Norman Morin, Andrew Paciorek, Eugenio Pinto, and Claudia Sahm.)
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