Government Economic Reports: Things You've Suspected but Were Afraid to Ask! -- Gross Domestic Product

By: Douglas R. Gillespie | Thu, Oct 7, 2004
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When it comes to government economic data, it is easy to get terribly confused. In recent years, it also has become easy to be more and more suspicious of the numbers themselves.

In his guest series, of which this is the fourth and final installment, friend and client, Walter J. "John" Williams, helps clear up much of the confusion. We doubt, though, that readers will find this to be the case with regard to the suspicion!

We published the first installment in this series, "Employment and Unemployment Reporting," on 8/24, the second installment, "Federal Deficit Reality," on 9/7, and the third installment, "The Consumer Price Index, appeared on 9/22. All three drew immense interest. We believe readers will find the current offering, "Gross Domestic Product," equally interesting and provocative.

Here's a sampling:

"Overstated GDP growth has meant that the 1990 and 2001 recessions were much more severe than recognized, and that lesser downturns in 1986 and 1995 were more or less missed entirely."

John has a long, distinguished record of following and critiquing the changes occurring over the years in the government's reporting of the economic numbers that can and do influence our lives in a major way. To state that what people observe in current GDP data seems to have become a little "mystifying" is to engage in significant understatement. Today's article will go a long way in explaining why this is.

John has again agreed to field any questions or comments this piece generates. You will find this invitation at the conclusion of the article.

The first installment included an introduction section intended to serve that function for the entire series; it was labeled "Series Introduction." It contained a great deal of key definitional material and was highly enlightening in its own right.

For convenience and reference purposes, this section is repeated in the current material, and it is found at the conclusion of the installment. If you have not yet had a chance to read the "Series Introduction," you might want to have a look it before reading the current or prior installments.

John Williams joins a growing list of guest contributors who have provided some terrific material in the short time the GRA website has been in existence. When you have a moment, go to the website's "Guest Contributions" section on the home page, lower right-hand column) and peruse some of the other work available there. Incidentally, if you did not read the earlier installments of John's series, you will find them posted in the "Guest Contributions" section.

NOTES: (1) All footnotes are broken out in the "Footnotes to Installment Four" section at the end of the article. (2) The views expressed in the following material do not necessarily reflect those of Gillespie Research Associates.)

Now, access, read and enjoy: "Government Economic Reports: Things You've Probably Suspected but Were Afraid to Ask! -- Gross Domestic Product".


Douglas R. Gillespie

Author: Douglas R. Gillespie

Douglas R. Gillespie, Sr.
Gillespie Research Associates
165 Sheridan Avenue
HO-HO-KUS, NJ 07423

Doug Gillespie oversees his own financial-market and economic consulting firm, Gillespie Research Associates. For a complimentary sample of Dougs material, e-mail him at

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