While there probably aren’t a lot of people singing “happy days are here again,” yet, there have been a number of encouraging signs in the recent economic news. The decrease in real gross domestic product (GDP) slowed to an annual rate of 1% in the second quarter of 2009, according to a release from the Bureau of Economic Analysis on August 27. That’s a big decrease from the first quarter of 2009, when real GDP–the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States–decreased 6.4%.
The latest GDP estimate is based on more complete source data than were available for the “advance” estimate issued in July.
The decrease in real GDP in the second quarter primarily reflected negative contributions from private inventory investment, nonresidential fixed investment, personal consumption expenditures (PCE), residential fixed investment, and exports that were partly offset by positive contributions from federal government spending and state and local government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased.
That wasn’t the only positive news this week. On August 26, the Census Bureau released figures indicating that new orders for manufactured durable goods increased in July by 4.9% to a total of $168.4 billion. That marked the third increase in the last four months and the largest percentage increase since July 2007.