Archive for the 'GDP by Industry' Category

Industry in Focus: Construction on the Rise

Although the U.S. economy has changed considerably over time, construction is an industry that’s maintained its importance. We no longer depend on telegraphs as we once did, but we’ll always need a place to live. Construction also is an industry in which the products can differ to a great degree. While cellphones may be quite similar to one another, office buildings take shapes ranging from the Empire State Building to a one-story structure in the suburbs. Moreover, the construction industry is unusually sensitive to regional and seasonal differences. Buildings in Chicago, Honolulu and Anchorage can look quite different from each other, and the amount of time that can be spent building in those cities differs as well.

In the first quarter of this year, construction was the largest contributor to the U.S. economy’s growth of 1.1 percent. Construction contributed 0.36 percentage point to inflation-adjusted, or real, GDP growth. The industry’s growth in real value added accelerated to 9.0%, after increasing 7.6% in the previous quarter.  Construction has expanded for six consecutive quarters, and when you compare construction’s performance since the beginning of 2015 with industries that may get more attention in the news (such as two of our previous Industry in Focus subjects, information and health care), you see the construction industry has performed well (see the blue bar in the chart below).  Charts like these are just one of the many tools you can create automatically using BEA’s interactive data retrieval application, iTables.

Price changes in chain-type july 21

Industry in Focus: How Health Care and Social Assistance Fared in Third Quarter

Health care is an industry that many of us experience firsthand, whether receiving treatment for an illness or injury or simply getting an annual check-up. In the third quarter of 2015, health care and social assistance was the second-leading contributor to the 2 percent increase in the U.S. economy’s growth, providing 0.38 percentage point to real GDP.

Of particular interest: health care and social assistance accelerated from July through September, after decelerating for three consecutive quarters. (We describe an industry as accelerating when its growth in the current quarter is faster than its growth in the previous quarter. Conversely, we describe an industry as decelerating when its growth in the current quarter is slower than its growth in the previous quarter.)

We learn even more about what is happening inside the health care sector when we dig down into the underlying detail tables that we introduced last quarter.

Health care and social assistance consists of four underlying industries—ambulatory health care services, hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities, and social assistance. A glance at the contributions of the underlying industries reveals that three of the four industries had actually been declining for two quarters.

However, growth in ambulatory health care services (which includes outpatient-services providers such as physicians, dentists, or optometrists) had hidden those declines. In the third quarter those three industries stopped declining and started growing again, which explains why health care and social assistance as a whole both grew and accelerated during the period.

Combining all of these observations from just a handful of tables allows one to paint a rich picture of what’s actually going on in the economy. What started as a relatively straightforward story—“health care grew in the third quarter”—becomes far more interesting when we begin to look at how that growth changed from previous quarters and how different parts of the industry fared.

Retail Trade Led Growth in the Third Quarter Gross Domestic Product by Industry

Retail trade; health care and social assistance; and agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting were the leading contributors to the increase in U.S. economic growth in the third quarter of 2015. Overall, 15 of 22 industry groups contributed to the 2.0 percent increase in real GDP in the third quarter.

Real GDP Jan 21

  • Retail trade increased 7.1 percent in the third quarter, after increasing 3.7 percent in the second quarter.
  • Health care and social assistance increased 5.5 percent, after increasing 2.1 percent.
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting increased 37.5 percent, after decreasing 3.9 percent.Real Value Jan 21

For more information, read the full report.

 


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