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September 2016
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October 2016

Goods Exports Push Real GDP Higher in Third Quarter

Real GDP growth is finally ticking up toward the long run average again.  The BEA released it's first (Advance) GDP estimate for the third quarter.  The estimate of real GDP growth came in at 2.9%, which is the highest level in two full years but still below a long run (50-year) average of 3 percent. 


Much of this increase was driven by exports and especially exports of goods.  While total exports make up just 12% of total GDP, exports increased by $66.4 billion in the third quarter.  This increase contributed more than one third of the total real GDP growth in the third quarter.  The contribution of the four major pieces of GDP to third quarter growth is broken down in the table below.

Total net exports contributed 0.83 % but exports of goods alone contributed 1.08 percent.




September Unemployment Rate at 5 Percent

Last Friday, the BLS released their latest jobs report which includes estimates of the unemployment rate and labor force participation rate (LFPR) for September.  The unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 5.0 percent which is essentially where it has been for the past year.  Nonfarm payroll employment, the most closely watched aggregate jobs figure, rose by 156,000 in September. 

The potential good news from the past few reports is that the LFPR may have finally bottomed out.  In September, the LFPR ticked up to 62.9%, which is up from just 62.4% one year ago.