February 25, 2021

It is important to remember that final sales is a measure of how many domestically produced goods are sold each quarter.  But we also sell goods overseas — our exports.   And we purchase goods from other countries — our imports.

In the never-ending process of analyzing the GDP data, there is yet another series called “final sales to domestic purchasers” which measures how much U.S. residents are actually spending.  It starts with final sales, but then subtracts exports (which represents how much foreigners are buying from the U.S.) and adds imports (which represents how much U.S. residents are spending on imports).  The end result is a measure of sales by domestic purchasers.

Final sales to domestic purchasers rose 4.4% in the fourth quarter.  Given that final sales rose 3.0%, then trade subtracted 1.4% from GDP growth in the fourth quarter.as exports grew  more quickly than imports (which means that the pace of economic activity in the U.S. exceed growth outside the U.S.).

Stephen Slifer


Charleston, SC