2010 GDP

What Was GDP in 2010?

Vacant Building
A vacant house is seen through a fence on June 27, 2012 in Stockton, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In 2010, gross domestic product improved slightly, quarter by quarter. The most recent Bureau of Economic Analysis estimate was $14.964 trillion.  Prior estimates were $14.958 trillion in 2013, $14.526 trillion in 2011, and $14.657 trillion in 2010. 2010 GDP was stronger than  than 2009 GDP of $14.418 trillion.

Here's the most recent estimate of economic output for each quarter in 2010 (followed by the prior years' estimates in parentheses):

  • Q1: $14,681 trillion ($14.672 trillion in 2013, $14.278 trillion in 2011 and $14.446 trillion in 2010)
  • Q2: $14,887 trilllion ($14.879 trillion in 2013, $14.467 trillion in 2011 and $14.579 trillion in 2010)
  • Q3: $15,058 trillion ($15.05 trillion in 2013, $14.6 trillion in 2011 and $14.745 trillion in 2010)
  • Q4: $15,230 trillion ($15.232 trillion in 2013, $14.755 trillion in 2011 and $14.861 trillion in 2010).

GDP Growth Rate

In 2010, the GDP growth rate was 2.5 percent. This estimate has remained unchanged since the 2013 revision. It is higher than the 2012 revision of 2.4 percent, but significantly lower than the 2011 estimate of 3.0 percent and the 2010 estimate of 2.8 percent. Here's the GDP growth rate for each quarter in 2010 (followed by the prior estimates in parentheses):

Q1: 1.7% (1.6% in 2013 revision, 2.3% in 2012 revision, 3.9% in 2011, 3.7% in 2010)

  • Advance - The economy grew 3.2% because Americans are shopping again. This was down quite a bit from the 5.6% growth rate in the fourth quarter 2009. Businesses restocking low inventory contributed 1.57 points to this growth. This is to be expected at this stage of the business cycle for an economy coming out of a recession. However, it is not a driver of growth, and will fall off in the next few quarters. An increase in personal consumption also helped. People are getting sick of sitting at home and doing without. They are starting to go out to eat again (contributed .34 points, after being down for the last five quarters). They are also buying shoes and clothes (contributing .23 points, after being down for five quarters). Auto sales drove .52% of the growth. Even though auto sales improved from 2009 (the worst in 30 years), they were still lower than the last two recessions. (Source: Calculated Risk)
  • Second - Economic growth was revised down to 3% thanks to new data showing higher exports but lower demand from shopping.
  • Third - Turns out the economy grew just 2.7% in Q1.

Q2: 3.9% (2.2% in 2012 revision, 3.8% in 2011)

  • Advance - Businesses buying durable goods drove 2.4% economic growth.
  • Second - Growth was revised down to 1.6%, due to less inventory replenishment than the BEA originally thought. inventory restocking is counted as economic growth, and it is what led to the boost in economic growth in Q4 2009.  It is the first sign of recovery, but becomes less important in later stages. Businesses bought even more equipment and software than originally thought.  It contributed 1.5% to growth, higher than last month's initial estimate of 1.3%.  This is a huge change from the end of 2009, when business spending subtracted 2.4% from GDP. Business imports of goods was higher than originally estimated, too - 4.34% vs 3.96%.  This is another good sign for the economy. Companies purchase durable goods in the beginning of any recovery as they find they can't afford to make do with old equipment any longer. However, since it's imports, it's deducted from GDP. 
  • Third - Economy chugs along at a 1.7% growth rate, driven by business spending on equipment and computers.

Q3: 2.7% (2.8% in 2013 revision, 2.6% in 2012 revision, 2.5% in 2011 revision)

  • Advance - The economy only grew 2%, prompting additional Fed easing. Business increasing their inventory levels contributed 1.44% of this growth.  These higher inventory levels are because they see an uptick in demand. According to the October survey of businesses by the National Association for Business Economics, nearly 60% of businesses reported an increase in demand - the largest percent in five years. 
  • Second - Growth was revised up to 2.5%, due businesses increasing their inventory levels.
  • Final Report - The economy grew 2.6%, better than last quarter but still not enough to create a lot of jobs.

Q4: 2.5%, (2.8% in 2013, 2.4% in 2012 revision, 2.3% in 2011)

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