Now raising intellectual capital
The downwardly revised 3rd quarter GDP certainly didn’t shock economists who were expecting a softer reading than the initial 3.5 percent, but the 2.8 percent certainly isn’t pretty especially considering the psychological blow of losing of the 3 handle. (Speaking of symbolic numbers, the FDIC also reported that its reserve fund is now in the red.) There’s still one more revision ahead though, so maybe it will inch back to 3 percent.
Weaker consumer spending – up 2.9 percent versus the originally estimated 3.4 percent – isn’t exactly encouraging since the recovery needs the nation’s shoppers to quicken the pace a little if the economy has any hope of picking up steam. And remember, the “cash for clunkers” program was a big contributor to the gain. It’s also no surprise that government expenditures helped at least partially offset the decline. Such spending increased 3.1% from the original estimate of 2.3%.
Alan Ruskin at RBS notes that at least corporate profits are strong at +10.6 percent. But, increased productivity is the cost. Companies are doing more with less, a phrase that those still holding their jobs detest and those without jobs dread.
Consumer confidence, meanwhile, ticked up slightly but still reflects a sour mood on Main Street.