Earlier Friday we learned that the Advance Estimate for Q1 2013 real GDP came in at 2.5 percent, up from 0.4 percent in Q4 2012. Let's now review the numbers on a per-capita basis.
For an alternate historical view of the economy, here is a chart of real GDP per-capita growth since 1960. For this analysis I've chained in today's dollar for the inflation adjustment. The per-capita calculation is based on quarterly aggregates of mid-month population estimates by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which date from 1959 (hence my 1960 starting date for this chart, even though quarterly GDP has is available since 1947). The population data is available in the FRED series POPTHM. The logarithmic vertical axis ensures that the highlighted contractions have the same relative scale.
I've drawn an exponential regression through the data using the Excel GROWTH() function to give us a sense of the historical
What a difference a week makes! Last Friday morning, on April 5, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a horrible payroll employment number that was well below consensus expectations. The S&P 500 (SPY) tumbled more than 20 points at the opening bell in reaction to the news. That panic began to abate at approximately 9:35 am, within five minutes of trading, when the low for the day was established at 1539.50. Five minutes of investor disdain for the single most important piece of economic data that is reported each month, and then it was off to the races. For the remainder of that day, and in the four trading days that followed, the S&P 500 climbed mechanically, without interruption, to new all-time highs. This was a relentless surge of more than 50 points from the Friday morning low for the S&P 500 in just one week. Surely, there
By Bruce K. Aronow and James MacGregor
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