Zero Hedge | US govt discovers 10 years of 'processing errors' in construction spending data slamming GDP

US govt discovers 10 years of ‘processing errors’ in construction spending data slamming GDP

January 4, 2016 3:01 PM (UTC+8)

 

Asia Unhedged flags the following Jan. 4 Zero Hedge column for all those who chortle that China’s official GDP figures don’t add up:

quest2“Even as increasingly more parts of the economy, especially those with exposure to manufacturing and industrial production, sink into the recessionary quicksand, one sector that was seen as immune from the malaise gripping US manufacturing and was outperforming the overall growth rate of the US economy, was housing, and specifically spending on private and public construction: a direct input into the GDP model.

That all changed today when the US Census released its latest, November, construction spending data, which not only missed expectations of a 0.6% increase, but tumbled -0.4%, the most since June of 2014, while all the recent changes were mysteriously revised lower.

And then the source of the mystery was revealed: in the fine print of the release, the government made a rare admission: all the construction spending data for the past 10 years had been “erroneous.”

In the November 2015 press release, monthly and annual estimates for private residential, total private, total residential and total construction spending for January 2005 through October 2015 have been revised to correct a processing error in the tabulation of data on private residential improvement spending. An Excel file containg all of the revisions can be found here

The result of the “revision” of the processing error is shown below: every month starting with April and going through October, was “found” to have been a lower increase than according to the previous data. Not only that, but the October print which had been the strongest since May, confounding many data watchers as it did not fit with anecdotal evidence of a dramatic slowdown in energy-related construction, suddenly was barely positive, leading to the November sequential decline, the worst since the -0.7% drop in June of 2014.” Read more

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