I ran across this piece from Global Insight while doing financial sector research in the middle of the night. Smart stuff and points out that the upcoming redefinition of real GDP will skewer year-to-year analysis of economic performance, making it seem better, just at the beginning of the election year. Gee, I wonder if there was any political influence on the pure science of economic statistics? Nah, couldn’t be….
blockquote>Benchmark revisions update extended periods of history and are released separately from the regular monthly or quarterly data releases. The most recent example was the revision of the Federal Reserve’s industrial production data. The benchmark revision was released on November 10 and covered the period through September. On November 14, the Fed released the regular monthly report with new data for October, but also the revisions for August and September stemming from the inclusion of late reports and other new information.
A shock wave is coming on December 10, when the Bureau of Economic Analysis will release its benchmark revisions to the national income accounts. This whammy will throw an additional curve—a base-year change. Data pulled either from Global Insight databanks or from the BEA’s web site on December 10 will differ from what was there on December 9. The revised data will go only through the second quarter of 2003, so in effect, there will be no revised third-quarter data until the regular monthly GDP release on December 23. Trying to link the new historical data with the preliminary third-quarter GDP data that will be released on November 25 will be inadvisable because of the many conceptual changes in the detail data.