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Technical Note
Gross Domestic Product
Fourth Quarter of 2010 (Second Estimate)
February 25, 2011
This technical note provides background information about the source data and estimating methods used to
produce the estimates presented in the GDP news release.  The complete set of estimates for the fourth
quarter is available on BEA's Web site at www.bea.gov; a brief summary of "highlights" is also posted on
the Web site.  In a few weeks, the estimates will be published in BEA's monthly journal, the Survey of
Current Business, along with a more detailed analysis of the estimates ("GDP and the Economy").

Sources of Revision to Real GDP

The real GDP growth rate in the fourth quarter was revised from 3.2 percent to 2.8 percent (annual rate).
An upward revision to imports and downward revisions to state and local government spending and to
consumer spending were partly offset by an upward revision to exports.

*       The upward revision to imports primarily reflected newly available Census Bureau data on U.S. trade
        with Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories for December. (The national income and product accounts
        treat transactions with Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories as exports and imports, whereas the
        international transactions accounts treat them as domestic transactions. A “territorial adjustment”
        accounts for this difference in treatment.)
*       The downward revision to state and local government spending was primarily to gross investment and
        reflected newly available Census construction spending data for December and revised data for October
        and November.
*       Consumer spending was revised down, reflecting revised Census retail sales data for November and
        December and newly available and revised natural gas usage data from the Energy Information
*       Exports were revised up, primarily based on newly available Census goods data for December.

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter, the same increase
as in the advance estimate.

Revisions to Wages and Salaries and Disposable Personal Income

In addition to presenting revised estimates for the fourth quarter, today's release also presents revised
estimates of third-quarter wages and salaries, personal taxes, and contributions for government social
insurance.  Wage and salary disbursements are now estimated to have increased $54.9 billion in the third
quarter, an upward revision of $2.9 billion.  These estimates reflect newly available wage and salary
tabulations for the third quarter from the BLS quarterly census of employment and wages.  These data are
more comprehensive than the monthly employment and earnings data that were used for the earlier
estimates—the QCEW data include irregular pay, such as bonuses and gains from the exercise of stock options.

Real disposable personal income is now estimated to have increased 1.0 percent in the third quarter and 1.4
percent in the fourth.  (By comparison, the estimates that were available last month showed increases of 0.9
percent in the third quarter and 1.7 percent in the fourth.)

Brent R. Moulton
Associate Director for National Economic Accounts
Bureau of Economic Analysis
(202) 606-9606