Charting America's Ever Shrinking "Revisionist" Economy

This has been the recovery of downward revisions - each annual revision to payrolls and GDP since the recovery started in 2009 revealed an even sharper contraction and weaker recovery. BofAML believes this year’s revision, which is released with the Q2 GDP report on Friday, will once again show an even slower start to the recovery with growth revised lower in 2009 and 2010, and modestly higher in 2011. While it is good news that growth could be revised higher in 2011, it appears that it will only be marginal. The downward revisions to growth in 2009 and 2010 will still leave the level of GDP lower and, hence, the output gap larger. This shows that the economy has made even less progress in healing from the deep recession. The severity and duration of the recession was understated in real time and the recovery was overstated. This suggests that monetary policy may not have been easy enough over the past several years - and therefore the current slowdown is even more significant.



The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) revises the National Income and Products Accounts (NIPA) every year along with the first estimate of Q2 GDP. This will not only affect GDP, but also income and PCE inflation. Thus, the saving rate and core PCE deflator could be altered. The revisions are based on more comprehensive source data and, on occasion, reflect methodology changes. There were fairly significant methodology changes last year, but this year, the revisions mostly reflect more complete data and updated seasonal adjustments. Data are subject to revision back to Q1 2009.


Source: BofAML