Revised 3Q GDP Unchanged at 33.1%

Meet the new gross domestic product—same as the old gross domestic product. The Bureau of Economic Analysis on Wednesday reported its second (revised) estimate of third quarter GDP was unchanged from its first estimate last month: in other words, after an unbelievably bad second quarter, the third quarter looks, in contrast, relatively brilliant.

The report said real GDP increased at an annual rate of 33.1 percent in the third quarter. In the second quarter, real GDP decreased 31.4 percent.

With the second estimate, BEA said upward revisions to nonresidential fixed investment, residential investment and exports were offset by downward revisions to state and local government spending, private inventory investment and personal consumption expenditures. Imports, a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, were revised up.

BEA noted the increase in real GDP reflected increases in PCE, private inventory investment, exports, nonresidential fixed investment and residential fixed investment that were partly offset by decreases in federal government spending (reflecting fewer fees paid to administer the Paycheck Protection Program loans) and state and local government spending. Imports, a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

The report also noted the increase in third quarter GDP reflected continued efforts to reopen businesses and resume activities that were postponed or restricted due to COVID-19. “The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the GDP estimate for the third quarter of 2020 because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified,” BEA said.