U.S. Economic Numbers
As announced today, July 27, U.S. Second Quarter (Q2) GDP grew at a rate of 1.5%.
For 2012, annual GDP growth consensus is forecasted at 2%; however 2012 Q1 growth was 2.2% and the Q2 GDP growth underperformed expectations.
By comparison, 2011 GDP increased every quarter, from .4% in Q1, 1.3% in Q2, 1.8% in Q3, and 3% in Q4. Comparing 2012 to 2011 year-to-date GDP growth, 2012 has been more robust.
Despite a still tepid 2012 GDP forecast, there are observations, from the housing market and auto sales figures, that demonstrate a continued U.S. economic recovery.
Further, it is feasible U.S. unemployment can continue to gradually decline from 8.2% to 8% by the end of 2012.
While U.S. consumer spending decreased in June, 2012, the figures do not include home and auto purchases. The positive news is the June housing starts were the highest since June 2008; permits increased to the highest rate since March 2010. And, June’s annualized housing construction level of 760,000 is the highest since October 2008; however this amount is well below the average 1.5 million on an annual historical basis. Stepped-up U.S. housing construction can add .5% to annual economic growth.
U.S. automakers are on pace to sell 14.4 million vehicles in 2012; annual sales were 16.1 million in 2007 and fell to 10.4 million in 2009 before beginning a recovery that saw an increase to 12.8 million vehicles sold in 2011.