Saturday, January 31, 2009

Funny Numbers

Ah yes, the GDP. I told you those are funny numbers. Well, here is one little explanation of why government numbers don't often accurately describe reality:

The actual decline in the gross domestic product — at a 3.8 percent annual rate — fell short of the 5 to 6 percent that most economists had expected for the fourth quarter. But that was because consumption collapsed so quickly that goods piled up in inventory, unsold but counted as part of the nation’s output.

“The drop in spending was so fast, so rapid, that production could not be cut fast enough,” said Nigel Gault, chief domestic economist at IHS Global Insight. “That is happening now, and the contraction in the current quarter, as a result, will probably exceed 5 percent.”

What is happening before your very eyes is usually a more accurate guide to reality than government numbers.

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