Washington, DC…Real gross domestic product — the value of the goods and services produced by the nation’s
economy less the value of the goods and services used up in production, adjusted for price
changes — increased at an annual rate of 0.5 percent in the first quarter of 2016, according to the
“advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP
increased 1.4 percent.
The Bureau emphasized that the first-quarter advance estimate released today is based on source
data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency (see the box on page 3 and
“Comparisons of Revisions to GDP” on page 4). The “second” estimate for the first quarter, based on
more complete data, will be released on May 27, 2016.
The increase in real GDP in the first quarter reflected positive contributions from personal
consumption expenditures (PCE), residential fixed investment, and state and local government spending
that were partly offset by negative contributions from nonresidential fixed investment, private inventory
investment, exports, and federal government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the
calculation of GDP, increased.
The deceleration in real GDP in the first quarter reflected a larger decrease in nonresidential
fixed investment, a deceleration in PCE, a downturn in federal government spending, an upturn in
imports, and larger decreases in private inventory investment and in exports that were partly offset by an
upturn in state and local government spending and an acceleration in residential fixed investment.
Upcoming Annual Revision of the National Income and Product Accounts
The annual revision of the national income and product accounts, covering the first quarter of 2013
through the first quarter of 2016, will be released along with the “advance” estimate of GDP for the second
quarter of 2016 on July 29. For more information, see the Technical Note.
Quarterly estimates are expressed at seasonally adjusted annual rates, unless otherwise specified. Percent
changes are calculated from unrounded data and are annualized. “Real” estimates are in chained (2009) dollars.
Price indexes are chain-type measures.
This news release is available on BEA’s Web site.
Real gross domestic purchases — purchases by U.S. residents of goods and services wherever produced —
increased 0.9 percent in the first quarter, compared with an increase of 1.5 percent in the fourth. The price
index for gross domestic purchases, which measures prices paid by U.S. residents, increased 0.3 percent in
the first quarter, compared with an increase of 0.4 percent in the fourth. Excluding food and energy prices, the
price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.4 percent, compared with an increase of 1.0 percent.
Current-dollar GDP — the market value of the goods and services produced by the nation’s
economy less the value of the goods and services used up in production — increased 1.2 percent, or
$56.3 billion, in the first quarter to a level of $18,221.1 billion. In the fourth quarter, current-dollar GDP
increased 2.3 percent, or $104.6 billion.
Disposition of personal income
Current-dollar personal income increased $130.8 billion in the first quarter, compared with an
increase of $117.4 billion in the fourth. The acceleration in personal income primarily reflected an
upturn in personal interest income and an acceleration in personal current transfer receipts that were
partly offset by a downturn in personal dividend income.
Personal current taxes increased $24.3 billion in the first quarter, compared with an increase of
$28.4 billion in the fourth.
Disposable personal income increased $106.5 billion, or 3.2 percent, in the first quarter,
compared with an increase of $89.0 billion, or 2.7 percent, in the fourth. Real disposable personal
income increased 2.9 percent, compared with an increase of 2.3 percent.
Personal outlays increased $72.5 billion in the first quarter, compared with an increase of $90.9
billion in the fourth.
Personal saving — disposable personal income less personal outlays — was $712.3 billion in the
first quarter, compared with $678.3 billion in the fourth.
The personal saving rate — personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income —
was 5.2 percent in the first quarter, compared with 5.0 percent in the fourth. For a comparison of
personal saving in BEA’s national income and product accounts with personal saving in the Federal
Reserve Board’s financial accounts of the United States and data on changes in net worth, go to
Information on the assumptions used for unavailable source data is provided in a technical note
that is posted with the news release on BEA’s Web site. Within a few days after the release, a detailed
“Key Source Data and Assumptions” file is posted on the Web site. In the middle of each month, an
analysis of the current quarterly estimate of GDP and related series is made available on the Web site;
click on Survey of Current Business, “GDP and the Economy.” For information on revisions, see
“Revisions to GDP, GDI, and Their Major Components.”
* * *
BEA’s national, international, regional, and industry estimates; the Survey of Current Business;
and BEA news releases are available without charge on BEA’s Web site at www.bea.gov. By visiting the
site, you can also subscribe to receive free e-mail summaries of BEA releases and announcements.
* * *
Next release — May 27, 2016 at 8:30 A.M. EDT for:
Gross Domestic Product: First Quarter 2016 (Second Estimate)
Corporate Profits: First Quarter 2016 (Preliminary Estimate)
Comparisons of Revisions to GDP
Current quarterly estimates of GDP are released on the following schedule: “Advance” estimates, based on source
data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency, are released near the end of the first
month following the end of the quarter; as more detailed and more comprehensive data become available,
“second” and “third” estimates are released near the end of the second and third months, respectively. “Latest”
quarterly estimates reflect the results of both annual and comprehensive revisions, which are typically released in late July.
Annual revisions generally cover at least the 3 most recent calendar years (and the associated quarters) and
incorporate newly available major annual source data. Comprehensive (or benchmark) revisions are carried out at
about 5-year intervals and incorporate major periodic source data, as well as improvements in concepts and
methods that update the accounts to portray more accurately the evolving U.S. economy.
The table below presents the average revisions to the quarterly percent changes in real and current-dollar
GDP for the different estimate vintages. From the advance estimate to the second estimate (1 month later), the
average revision to real GDP growth without regard to sign is 0.5 percentage point, while from the advance
estimate to the third estimate (2 months later), it is 0.6 percentage point. From the advance estimate to the latest
estimate, the average revision without regard to sign is 1.2 percentage points. Larger average revisions for the
latest estimates reflect the fact that comprehensive revisions include major improvements to the accounts, such as
the incorporation of BEA’s latest benchmark input-output accounts. The current quarterly estimates correctly indicate the
direction of change in real GDP 96 percent of the time, correctly indicate whether GDP is accelerating or
decelerating about 75 percent of the time, and correctly indicate whether real GDP growth is above, near, or
below trend growth about 83 percent of the time.
Revisions Between Quarterly Percent Changes of GDP: Vintage Comparisons
Vintages Average Average without Standard deviation of
compared regard to sign revisions without
regard to sign
Advance to second……………….. 0.1 0.5 0.4
Advance to third………………… 0.1 0.6 0.5
Second to third…………………. 0.0 0.2 0.3
Advance to latest……………….. -0.1 1.2 1.0
Advance to second……………….. 0.1 0.5 0.4
Advance to third………………… 0.2 0.7 0.5
Second to third…………………. 0.1 0.3 0.3
Advance to latest……………….. 0.1 1.3 1.0
NOTE. These comparisons are based on the period from 1993 through 2014.