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Technical Note
Gross Domestic Product
First Quarter of 2017 (Advance Estimate)
April 28, 2017
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 Survey of Current Business, BEA’s online monthly journal,
will publish a more detailed analysis of the estimates ("GDP and the Economy").

Real GDP

Real GDP increased 0.7 percent (annual rate) in the first quarter of 2017, following an increase of 2.1
percent in the fourth quarter of 2016.  The increase in real GDP reflected increases in business
investment, exports, housing investment, and consumer spending. The increase in business investment
reflected increases in both structures and equipment, notably a significant increase in mining
exploration, shafts, and wells. The increase in exports reflected an increase in nondurable industrial
supplies and materials, notably petroleum.

The deceleration in real GDP in the first quarter reflected a deceleration in consumer spending, and
downturns in inventory investment and in state and local government spending. These movements were
partly offset by an upturn in exports and accelerations in both nonresidential and residential fixed
investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decelerated.

Source Data for the Advance Estimate

The “advance” GDP estimate for the first quarter of 2017 is based on source data that are incomplete
and subject to updates. Three months of source data are available for consumer spending on goods;
shipments of capital equipment; motor vehicle sales and inventories; durable goods manufacturing
inventories; wholesale and retail trade inventories; exports and imports of goods; federal government
outlays; and consumer, producer, and international prices. For major source data series for which only
two months of data are available, BEA’s key assumptions for the third month are shown in table A1.
Recently benchmarked monthly retail trade data from the Census Bureau will be incorporated in the
“second” estimate of GDP on a best-change basis.

On April 27, the Census Bureau released the "Advance Economic Indicators Report" that included newly
available wholesale and retail trade inventories as well as exports and imports of goods for the month of
March. Today’s advance GDP estimates reflect these advance inventories and foreign trade statistics
(table A2).
Prices

The price index for personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased 2.4 percent in the first quarter,
following an increase of 2.0 percent in the fourth. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index
increased 2.0 percent after increasing 1.3 percent.

Disposable Personal Income

Real disposable personal income increased 1.0 percent in the first quarter, following an increase of 2.0
percent in the fourth. The personal saving rate was 5.7 percent in the first quarter, compared with 5.5
percent in the fourth.

Looking Ahead: 2017 Annual Update Scheduled for July 28th, 2017

BEA will release results from the 2017 annual update of the national income and product accounts
(NIPAs) on July 28th, including the advance estimate of GDP for the second quarter of 2017. GDP will be
revised for the most recent 3 years (2014-2016) and for the first quarter of 2017.

The 2017 annual update will incorporate the usual annual source data that are more complete and more
detailed than previously available, including:

*	Census Bureau annual surveys of manufactures; merchant wholesale trade; retail trade;
        services; and state and local governments
*	Federal government budget data
*	Internal Revenue Service tabulations of tax returns for corporations and for sole proprietorships
        and partnerships, and
*	Department of Agriculture farm income statistics.

Additionally, the update will include the following refinements to BEA’s methods:

*	Estimates for consumer spending will incorporate improved allocations of industry-based retail
        sales to consumer goods, reflecting increased use of retail scanner data and the Census Bureau’s
        E-Commerce Report.

*	The price index used to deflate fixed investment in prepackaged software will be based on a
        more representative Bureau of Labor Statistics Producer Price Index (PPI). Currently, the BEA
        price for prepackaged software is based on the PPI for “Application software publishing.”
        Beginning with this annual update, BEA will use a broader PPI for “Software publishing, except
        games,” which includes both applications and systems software publishing.

More information on the 2017 Annual Update will be included in the forthcoming May Survey of Current
Business article, “GDP and the Economy.”

David B. Wasshausen
Chief, National Income and Wealth Division
Bureau of Economic Analysis
(301) 278-9715