Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
Economy on the rebound?

In this morning's New York Times, we find Economy Grew at 7.2% Rate in 3rd Quarter, Fastest Pace Since 1984. A list of important stats for quick analysis:

  • The increase in the GDP for July-September, the 7.2% in the title, was more than double the 3.3% increase reported in the 2nd quarter

  • Analysts were only expecting a 6% growth

  • The quarter saw an increase of 57,000 new jobs – the first increase in eight months

  • Employment still hovers at 6.1%

  • On Tuesday the Fed kept short-term interest rates at 1%, a 45-year low

  • Economists expect a slower 4% growth for thr 4th quarter

  • In the 3rd quarter, consumer spending jumped by 6.6%, up from 3.8% in the 2nd

  • Big-ticket item purchases grew by 26.9% (!)

  • Food and clothes purchases grew by 7.9%, the best increase since 1976

  • Business spending on technology jumped by 15.4%, up from 8.3 in the 2nd quarter

  • Investment on residential projects grew at 20.4%, best jump since 1996 and over triple the 2nd-quarter growth of 6.6%

  • Federal spending grew at a measly 1.4%, but this follows a 2nd-quarter growth of 45.8% on the Iraq war

  • Businesses are still burning through their inventory, which reduced the GDP this quarter by 0.67%

So what does this tell us? The jump in technology spending bodes well for techies, the big-ticket purchase jump bodes well for folks in marketing and the like, and continued short-term interest rates are good for small businesses. This is all good news for my demographic. However, the continued unemployment rate of 6.1% should be further examined to determine how it impacts the economy – if the 6.1% is primarily white-collar workers, an increase in manufacturing jobs isn't going to help; corporate America needs to crank it up again to start creating some empty seats to fill. And the continuing reliance on existing inventory as opposed to replenishing the company stockpiles indicates that white-collar growth is still heavily constrained.

Some guys are armchair analysts on the war. Never in a million years would I have ever expected to become an armchair economist. Thanks, Dad. :)

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