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Date posted: September 5, 2011

Periodically the federal government revises its economic data. Once recent change really caused headlines at least among economists. N.C. State University economist Mike Walden explains.

“Well, this was our measure. And many economists say this is the best measure of our economy. We call it gross domestic product. It’s the value of everything we’ve produced in the economy. And what made headlines a few months ago … is that economists said, ‘Guess what? Gross domestic product is now back to where it was pre-recession. So, we’ve recovered everything we lost during the recession.’

“Well, unfortunately economic data are frequently revised, and we just had a revision in the gross domestic product numbers last week. And what this is now telling us is, oops, the government economists made a mistake. And the revisions now show that gross domestic product is still below pre-recessionary levels.

“That was one report. The other report said that actually the bottom of the recession, which again we measure by how far gross domestic product went down, was actually lower than what had previously been calculated.

“Bottom line of all this is that the economy is still in trouble. The recession was actually somewhat worse than we thought. We’ve not yet recovered all of gross domestic product. So, unfortunately just to throw more bad news on top of bad news these revisions make the economic outlook a little more murkier.”

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