Fourth Quarter GDP Growth was 1.9%

The BEA says that fourth quarter GDP grew at a 1.9% annual rate. That estimate is the same as the advance report for fourth quarter GDP.  That’s down from thirds quarter growth but otherwise the highest since the third quarter of 2015.

GDP Growth by Quarter
GDP Growth by Quarter – (Source: BEA)


The major drags on growth, according to the BEA, were declining exports, increasing imports, and declines in federal government spending. Other components (
personal consumption expenditures (PCE), private inventory investment, residential fixed investment, nonresidential fixed investment, and state and local government spending) were up.

Notable Deaths – Michael Novak and Hans Rosling

I’m a little bit late, but there were two notable deaths last week, Michael Novak and Hans Rosling.

Novak on Morality and Capitalism

The author Michael Novak, who wrote The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism among many other books, gradually moved from an academic liberalism to defending the moral basis of capitalism. He tried to stake a Catholic claim to match Max Weber’s much earlier The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.  It has been many years since I read the book, but this will be a good time to re-read it.

Master of Data Visualizations

The Grim Reaper also took Hans Rosling, who gave some of my favorite TED Talks.  He used innovative data visualizations to show the progress of human health over the years. You may want to start with this talk, but there are others you can get to from this page.


Cell-phone Only Households the Majority

According to the GfK MRI Fall 2016 Survey of the American Consumer®, cell-phone only households make up 52% of households. Its even up to 23% for people aged 65+, which is the age group most likely to still have a land-line. Among the Millennials, cell-phone only households are up to 71%. This means that any phone survey is going to have to include cell phones, or it is probably not a valid sample.

The survey is based on 24,000 interviews of adults 18+. More background on the survey is here, while you can find some news coverage here.