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Real GDP Growth Projected at a 3.3% Annual Rate in Q4


Tuesday, December 20, 2016
st louis fed economic news index
Thinkstock/Sean_Kuma

By Kevin Kliesen, Business Economist and Research Officer

The St. Louis Fed’s Economic News Index (ENI) predicts that real gross domestic product (GDP) will increase at a 3.3 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter. The current estimate is modestly less than the previous week’s estimate of 3.9 percent and largely reflects weaker-than-expected data for private housing starts and industrial production in November. (See figure below.)

st louis fed economic news index

Several key data used in the ENI will be released this week:

  • Real personal consumption expenditures for November will be released on Thursday.
  • New orders for manufactured durable goods for November will be released on Thursday.
  • The revised estimate of third-quarter real GDP growth will be released on Thursday.
  • New home sales will be released on Friday.

If real GDP advances at a 3.3 percent rate in the fourth quarter, then the U.S. economy will have grown by 2.2 percent this year, modestly stronger than the 1.9 percent gain seen in 2015 (measured on a fourth-quarter-to-fourth-quarter basis).

As noted in a previous On the Economy blog post, the St. Louis Fed’s ENI uses economic content from key monthly economic data releases to forecast the growth of real GDP during that quarter.1 This simple-to-read index is updated every Friday. Starting in early January, it will be posted regularly on the St. Louis Fed’s FRED (Federal Reserve Economic Data) database.

Notes and References

1 See Grover, Sean P.; Kliesen, Kevin L.; and McCracken, Michael W. “A Macroeconomic News Index for Constructing Nowcasts of U.S. Real Gross Domestic Product Growth,” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review, Fourth Quarter 2016, Vol. 98, Issue 4, pp. 277-96. The ENI will not produce forecasts for the major components of GDP, such as real nonresidential fixed investment.

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