Moments before this morning's first look at the Q3 GDP print came out we tweeted the following:
GDP will not disappoint ahead of election
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) October 26, 2012
Sure enough, the preliminary look at Q3 GDP just came out and "beat" expectations of a 1.8% print, with a 2.0% reading (or just in line with stall speed, a number which previously has been indicative of recessions). So far so good, but as with every other pre-election economic data point out of the government, one has to look behind the headline to get the true picture. And the details are, as expected, ugly. Because of the 2.02% annualized increase in GDP, over one third, or 0.71% (compared to a deduction of -0.14% in Q2, and 0.64% of the 0.71% came from defense spending), was contributed by "Government Consumption." This was the biggest rise in government spending in 3 years, and only the first contribution by Uncle Sam to its own GDP print since Q2 2010. So in much the same way as the September jobs print soared courtesy of government employee hiring, this same government is now juicing its own numbers to make itself look better. The real question is what the second and third Q3 GDP revisions will show, which both come, luckily, after the election. Recall that Q2 GDP initially came out at 1.5%, then was revised to 1.7%, until finally coming to rest at 1.25%.
And in other news, Personal Consumption: the key driver for real economic growth, rose 2.0% in Q3, missing expectations of a 2.1% increase.
Source: Chinese Department of Truth BEA