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Technical Note
Gross Domestic Product
First Quarter of 2012 (Advance)
April 27, 2012
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 first
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").

Real GDP

Real GDP increased 2.2 percent (annual rate) in the first quarter of 2012, following an increase of 3.0
percent in the fourth quarter.  The deceleration in real GDP in the first quarter reflected a deceleration
in inventory investment and a downturn in nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by
accelerations in consumer spending and in exports.

Source Data for the Advance Estimate

The advance GDP estimate for the first quarter of 2012 is based on source data that are incomplete and
subject to revision.  Three months of source data were available for consumer spending on goods; shipments
of capital equipment, including aircraft; motor vehicle sales and inventories; manufacturing durables
inventories; federal government outlays; and consumer, producer, and international prices.  Only two
months of data were available from most other key data sources; BEA’s assumptions for the third month
are shown in table A.  Among those assumptions are the following:

*	an increase in nondurable manufacturing inventories,
*	an increase in non-motor-vehicle merchant wholesale and retail
        inventories,
*	an increase in exports of goods, excluding gold, and
*	an increase in imports of goods, excluding gold.

Prices

The price index for gross domestic purchases—the prices paid by U.S. residents for goods and services
wherever produced—increased 2.4 percent in the first quarter after increasing 1.1 percent in the fourth.
Excluding food and energy prices, the price index for gross domestic purchases increased 2.2 percent after
increasing 1.2 percent.

Disposable Personal Income and Personal Saving

Real disposable personal income (DPI) increased 0.4 percent in the first quarter, following an increase of
1.7 percent in the fourth.  Current-dollar DPI increased 2.8 percent, following an increase of 2.9 percent.
The personal saving rate was 3.9 percent in the first quarter, compared with 4.5 percent in the fourth.


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