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Technical Note
Gross Domestic Product
Second Quarter of 2012 (Advance Estimate)
July 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 second 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 1.5 percent (annual rate) in the second quarter of 2012, following
an increase of 2.0 percent in the first quarter (revised).  The deceleration in real GDP
in the second quarter reflected a deceleration in consumer spending, an acceleration
in imports, and decelerations in both residential and nonresidential fixed investment
that were partly offset by an upturn in inventory investment, a smaller decrease in
federal government spending, and an acceleration in exports.

Source Data for the Advance Estimate

The advance GDP estimate for the second 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; 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:

*	a decrease in nondurable manufacturing inventories,
*	an increase in non-motor-vehicle merchant wholesale and retail inventories,
*	a decrease in exports of goods, excluding gold, and
*	a decrease 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 0.7 percent in the second quarter
after increasing 2.5 percent in the first.  Excluding food and energy prices, the price
index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.4 percent after increasing 2.4 percent.

Disposable Personal Income and Personal Saving

Real disposable personal income (DPI) increased 3.2 percent in the second quarter,
following an increase of 3.4 percent in the first.  The personal saving rate was 4.0
percent in the second quarter, compared with 3.6 percent in the first.
Annual revision

Today’s GDP news release presents results from the regular annual revision of the
national income and product accounts.  This year’s revision includes revised estimates
for the most recent 3 years (from 2009 to 2011) and for the first quarter of 2012.  The
revision incorporates source data that are more complete and reliable than those
previously available.  Shortly after the GDP release, BEA will post a table on its Web
site, www.bea.gov, showing selected component detail and the major source data for the
revisions.  A detailed discussion of the results will be published in the August issue of
the Survey.

For 2008–2011, real GDP increased at an average annual rate of 0.3 percent; in the
previously published estimates, the average growth was 0.4 percent.  The largest
contributor to the downward revision to GDP for 2008–2011 was a downward revision to
nonresidential fixed investment, which more than offset an upward revision to state and
local government spending:

*	Real nonresidential fixed investment decreased at an average annual rate of 3.6
        percent from 2008 to 2011, compared with the previously published decrease of
        2.3 percent.  The revisions primarily reflected new and revised data from the
        Census Bureau’s annual survey of manufactures for 2009–2010.
*	Real state and local government spending decreased at an average annual rate
        of 1.0 percent from 2008 to 2011, compared with the previously published
        decrease of 1.6 percent.  The revisions primarily reflected new and revised data
        from the Census Bureau government finances survey for fiscal years 2009–2010.

The revised estimates show a slightly milder cyclical contraction in GDP during the first
half of 2009 than in the previously published estimates.  For the period of contraction
from the fourth quarter of 2007 to the second quarter of 2009, the cumulative decrease
in real GDP (not at an annual rate) was 4.7 percent; in the previously published
estimates, the cumulative decrease was 5.1 percent.  For the period of expansion from
the second quarter of 2009 to the first quarter of 2012, the cumulative increase in real
GDP was 6.3 percent, or an average annual rate of 2.3 percent; in the previously
published estimates, it had increased 6.7 percent, or at an average rate of 2.4 percent.

Revision to GDP for 2012:QI

For the first quarter of 2012, real GDP increased 2.0 percent (annual rate), which was
0.1 percentage point more than last month’s estimate. Upward revisions to
nonresidential fixed investment and to federal government spending more than offset a
downward revision to inventory investment.


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