Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

Inside Report (6)

Warning: for internal use only!

That's the label on the ''sort-of'' projection of the state of the US economy. The so-called GNP ''flash'' publicized earlier this week showed the economy sliding backward at a 2.2 percent annual rate for the last three months of '82. But US Commerce Department officials say the flash is for internal use only; they cringe at the number's ''leak'' every quarter. The flash is based on 2/3 of a quarter's data for some components of the GNP, but only 1/3 of a quarter's worth of data for others. By contrast, the estimate of GNP that'll be released next month is based on 2/3 of a quarter for many of its components and a full quarter's worth of data for others. Why calculate the flash? The government's got to have something to go on when it's trying to plan ahead.

About these ads

But the flash has a reasonably good track record: Since 1979, it has correctly projected quarterly growth or decline 73 percent of the time.