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Chart of the Week


Week 39, 2011: US GDP

Summary: In a rare piece of positive news, US GDP figures for the second quarter of 2011 were revised upwards this week, to 1.3% from 1%. We couldn't miss the opportunity to include some good news in the chart of the week for once!

What does the chart show? The chart shows Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth from the previous quarter, in percentage terms, for both the USA (blue line) and the UK (red line). The dotted blue line shows the estimated US GDP from last month. GDP is a measure of total output most commonly used as an indicator of the size and health of an economy.

Why is the chart interesting? In a period when there has been little good news for the US economy, this minor upward revision may come as a pleasant surprise. It is unfortunately unlikely that the UK GDP figures for the second quarter will be revised upwards, however.

The chart also shows how much more volatile the US economy is than the UK economy. In the slump of 2008, UK GDP growth barely seems to be affected at all in comparison to the US; and likewise, the UK economy has hardly grown at all when compared to the last couple of years in the US.