Q3 Growth vs. Benchmark Revisions

Lackluster growth is nowcasted for Q3 by Atlanta Fed (0.3% SAAR), somewhat faster by Goldman Sachs (1.2%). It’s important to remember that the impact on the implied level of GDP might be dwarfed by the annual benchmark revision. And for the first time, the annual benchmark revision will come September 29th, rather than the end of July.

Figure 1: GDP (black), GDO (blue), GDPNow nowcast (chartreuse square), Goldman Sachs nowcast (red triangle), all in billions Ch.2012$ SAAR. NBER defined peak-to-trough recession dates shaded gray. Source: BEA Q2 second release, Atlanta Fed (9/27), Goldman Sachs (9/26), NBER, and author’s calculations.

We don’t know what the revision will do to the trajectory of GDP, but we do know that overall, GDO better predicts what revised GDP will eventually look like than reported GDP.  The first annual benchmark revision can sometimes lead to noticeable changes. For instance, the 2018 annual benchmark implied that Q1 GDP was 0.4 percentage points higher than originally reported.

Revisions are discussed in detail in this BEA article.





8 thoughts on “Q3 Growth vs. Benchmark Revisions

  1. rjs

    aren’t we about due for another comprehensive revision? 2012$ are getting pretty old, increasing the discrepancies between the computed contributions to the change in the components of GDP and the computed overall change in GDP….i had been expecting a revision to at least 2017$, but i’ve seen no indication that’s in the cards this week…

  2. Macroduck

    Between 1975 and 2014, annual and benchmark revisions to real GDP averaged 1.46%:


    That’s over the period covered by the revision, not just one quarter, but that leaves room for some sizable revisions to individual quarters.

    Given the disruptions to both activity and data reporting from the onset of Covid, this batch of revisions could be larger relative to that 1.46% average.

    1. Anonymous

      I find it difficult to accept that us, nato, Swedish etc intel and surveillance missed three operations where more than 100 pound war heads were employ

      capabilities are classified, but underwater surveillance has beeen a strategic investment area for the pentagon since WW i

      1. baffling

        what makes you think they missed the operations? apparently they know exactly who and when the events occurred.

      1. Barkley Rosser


        Looks like you have error bounds that are as wide as you claim hold for official data. Regarding Nord Stream II, Germany agreed to halt it two days prior to the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine by Putin’s forces. US did not need to do anything to it.

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