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.
This is a guest blog by John H. Thompson, Director of U.S. Census Bureau
Later this month, the U.S. Census Bureau will release the first-ever Advance Economic Indicators Report. Last July, we began issuing the Advance Report: U.S. International Trade in Goods in order to release international trade data to the public as quickly as possible. Continuing our commitment to make our quality statistics as accessible and timely as possible, this new report will expand the advance report by including advance monthly retail and wholesale trade inventories for select aggregate levels in addition to the advance international trade data.
Business leaders, policymakers and other data users rely on Census Bureau statistics to make important decisions. These advance estimates not only give them earlier access to a “snapshot” of key economic data, but also provide more quality inputs for calculating our nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The new Advance Economic Indicators Reportwill allow the Bureau of Economic Analysis to make a more precise initial estimate of this major economic indicator, and potentially reduce the size of later revisions. When BEA began incorporating our advance trade report into the advance estimate of GDP last year, it reduced revisions to GDP, on average, by 0.1 to 0.2 percentage points – or by $6 billion – on an annualized basis.
The Census Bureau is constantly looking for ways to improve your access to our statistics, and this new report is a great example of our dedication to releasing the timeliest, accurate and most trusted information about our nation’s economy. We will continue to identify other quality indicators that are suitable for acceleration to expand the Advance Economic Indicators Report.
The first Advance Economic Indicators Report will be available on July 28 at <www.census.gov/econ/indicators/index.html>.
Published June 28, 2016
BEA , BEA News , GDP , Real GDP
“Third” estimate of GDP
Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased 1.1 percent in the first quarter of 2016, according to the “third” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The growth rate was 0.3 percentage point higher than the “second” estimate released last month. In the fourth quarter of 2015, real GDP increased 1.4 percent.
The first‐quarter increase in real GDP mainly reflected an increase in consumer spending on services. Spending on household services increased, notably on health care and on housing and utilities. Consumer spending on nondurable goods also increased. However, consumer spending on durable goods declined, notably on motor vehicles and parts.
In addition, housing investment, state and local government expenditures, and exports each increased.
These positive contributions to GDP growth were partially offset by the following:
- Business investment in equipment and in structures decreased.
- Farm and nonfarm private inventory investment declined.
- Federal government spending declined, notably on national defense spending.
The upward revision to real GDP growth reflected upward revisions to exports and to business investment, which were partly offset by a downward revision to consumer spending. More information.
Corporate profits increased 1.8 percent at a quarterly rate in the first quarter of 2016 after decreasing 7.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015.
- Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations increased 6.4 percent after decreasing 10.2 percent.
- Profits of domestic financial corporations decreased 3.0 percent after decreasing 6.0 percent.
- Profits from the rest of the world decreased 7.2 percent after decreasing 1.7 percent.
Over the last 4 quarters, corporate profits decreased 4.3 percent.
For more information, read the full report.