Q4 GDP Advance Estimate: Real GDP at 2.9%, Better Than Forecast

This article was originally written by Doug Short. From 2016-2022, it was improved upon and updated by Jill Mislinski. Starting in January 2023, AP Charts pages will be maintained by Jennifer Nash at Advisor Perspectives/VettaFi.


The advanced estimate for Q4 GDP, to one decimal, came in at 2.9% (2.89% to two decimal places), a decrease from 3.2% (3.24% to two decimal places) for the Q3 third estimate. Investing.com had a consensus of 2.6%.

Here is the slightly abbreviated opening text from the Bureau of Economic Analysis news release:

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022 (table 1), according to the "advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 3.2 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency (refer to "Source Data for the Advance Estimate" on page 4). The "second" estimate for the fourth quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on February 23, 2023. [Full Release]

Here is a look at quarterly GDP since Q2 1947. Prior to 1947, GDP was an annual calculation. To be more precise, the chart shows is the annualized percentage change from the preceding quarter in real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product. We've also included recessions, which are determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Also illustrated are the 3.18% average (arithmetic mean) and the 10-year moving average, currently at 2.46%.

Quarterly GDP since 1947

Here is a log-scale chart of real GDP with an exponential regression, which helps us understand growth cycles since the 1947 inception of quarterly GDP. The latest number puts us 15.0% below trend.

with a Regression

A particularly telling representation of slowing growth in the US economy is the year-over-year rate of change. The average rate at the start of recessions is 3.29%. Eleven of 12 recessions over this time frame have begun at a lower level of current real YoY GDP.

Real GDP Year-over-Year

In summary, the Q4 GDP advanced estimate of 2.9% was better than forecast and continued to show signs of improvement from Q1 and Q2 GDP.

Other GDP updates (updated after GDP monthly piece):

Real GDP Per Capita

Visualizing GDP

Read more updates by Jen Nash