Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 33.1% in the third quarter of 2020, according to the “advance” estimate released Thursday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second quarter, real GDP decreased 31.4%.
The increase in real GDP reflected increases in personal consumption expenditures (PCE), private inventory investment, exports, nonresidential fixed investment, and residential fixed investment that were partly offset by decreases in federal government spending (reflecting fewer fees paid to administer the Paycheck Protection Program loans) and state and local government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.
The increase in PCE reflected increases in services (led by health care as well as food services and accommodations) and goods (led by motor vehicles and parts as well as clothing and footwear). The increase in private inventory investment primarily reflected an increase in retail trade (led by motor vehicle dealers). The increase in exports primarily reflected an increase in goods (led by automotive vehicles, engines, and parts as well as capital goods). The increase in nonresidential fixed investment primarily reflected an increase in equipment (led by transportation equipment). The increase in residential fixed investment primarily reflected an increase in brokers’ commissions and other ownership transfer costs.
Current‑dollar GDP increased 38.0%, or $1.64 trillion, in the third quarter to a level of $21.16 trillion. In the second quarter, GDP decreased 32.8%, or $2.04 trillion.
The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 3.4% in the third quarter, in contrast to a decrease of 1.4% in the second quarter. The PCE price index increased 3.7%, in contrast to a decrease of 1.6%. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 3.5%, in contrast to a decrease of 0.8%.