The second estimate of Q4 Real GDP, released yesterday indicates that output grew a tiny bit in the fourth quarter and there was an upward revision in the third quarter. than previously estimated at 2%. On the face of it this seems like good news but it is really insignificant and is much smaller than typical revisions. The fundamentals that we look to for evidence of a robust recovery were not encouraging.
The BEA also released January 2013 personal income and savings. Personal income declined by 3.6% compared to a gain of 2.5% in December and the personal savings rate dropped with it, plunging back down to 2.5%. As we showed last month, the effects of fiscal policies were clearly evident in the December 2012 personal income gain, as companies shifted dividend payments forward to avoid the end of the payroll tax holiday. January’s numbers reinforce this idea.
As always, we show the components of GDP measured from the peak of the business cycle.