Sunday, February 28, 2016


Does any of this reflect confusion by retailers on how do deal with e-commerce and omnichannel?

What Changed in the Fourth-Quarter U.S. GDP Report

Feb 26, 2016
  • The U.S. economy expanded at a 1% rate in the final three months of 2015, better than a previously reported 0.7% gain, the Commerce Department said Friday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal forecast gross domestic product to have advanced at a 0.4% rate for the fourth quarter.
    • Inventory Swing Drives Better Growth Figures

      U.S. businesses pared back inventories much less than initially estimated in the fourth quarter. The revised inventory estimate essentially entirely accounts for the upward revision of fourth-quarter growth to a 1% pace from a previously estimated 0.7% gain. The change in private inventories accounted for a 0.14 percentage point drag on growth, rather than the 0.45 point drag estimated a month ago. While the result is a better growth result in final months of 2015, it’s not entirely positive. With larger stockpiles, businesses might not need to increase production this year to meet demand, a factor that could be a headwind to future growth.

    • Consumer Spending Weaker Than Previously Thought

      Hidden behind upgraded economic growth in the fourth quarter was a slowdown in consumer spending. Personal-consumption expenditures advanced at a 2% pace in the fourth quarter. That’s a downward revision from the initial estimate of a 2.2% advance and a deceleration from the third quarter’s 3% annualized gain. Consumer spending on long-lasting goods such as cars, appliances and furniture was not as strong as previously thought in the final three months of 2015.
    • Decline in Imports Supports Domestic Growth

      Imports to the U.S. fell in the fourth quarter, a reversal from the government’s initial estimate. U.S. imports fell at a 0.6% pace in the final three months of 2015. That’s revised from the initial reading of a 1.1% advance. Imports subtract from GDP because they reflect overseas production consumed in the U.S. Exports, which also declined in the fourth quarter, add to the measure of domestic output. Most of the import revision reflected a slowdown in goods shipments to the U.S. That’s consistent with a slowdown in consumer spending.
    • State and Local Governments Pull Back

      Spending by state and local governments declined at a 1.4% annualized pace in the fourth quarter. That’s a deeper decline than the initially estimated 0.6% decrease. Meanwhile, growth in federal outlays was slightly less robust, but still clearly positive at a 2.2% growth rate. Overall government spending was essentially a neutral factor for GDP last quarter. The first output estimate showed the government to have added 0.12 percentage point to overall growth.