Real GDP Recovers To Above Its Pre-Recession Level

by: Mark J. Perry

The BEA reported today on third quarter GDP, here are some hightlights:

1. Nominal GDP was $15,159 billion in the third quarter and real GDP (in 2005 dollars) reached a new all-time high of $13,353 billion, putting real output above the early-recession peak (and previous record high) of $13,310 billion in the second quarter of 2008.

2. Real GDP grew at 2.5% in the third quarter and this marks the ninth consecutive quarter of real output growth starting in the third quarter of 2009. The 2.5% growth in third quarter 2011 GDP matches the 2.5% average growth rate over the current nine-quarter economic expansion that started in third quarter 2009.

3. Led by a 17.4% increase in business equipment and software, overall business investment grew at 16.3% in the third quarter, which was only the third time in the last decade that business investment increased more than 16% in a single quarter.

4. Real consumption expenditures showed a 2.4% gain from Q2, which brought consumption spending to a record-setting $9,500 billion in Q3, and 1.5% above the pre-recession level of $9,313 billion in Q4 2007.

While we still have a sub-par and jobless recovery, the 2.5% real output growth for both Q3 and the average over the last nine quarters, and the recovery of real GDP to above its pre-recession level would at least suggest that a pending double-dip recession is now pretty much out of the question.