The Gross Domestic Product measures the value of economic activity within a country. Strictly defined, GDP is the sum of the market values, or prices, of all final goods and services produced in an economy during a period of time. There are, however, three important distinctions within this seemingly simple definition:
1. GDP is a number that expresses the worth of the output of a country in local currency.
2. GDP tries to capture all final goods and services as long as they are ...view middle of the document...
3. GDP is calculated for a specific period of time, usually a year or a quarter of a year.
The output of goods and services produced by labor and property
located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 1.8 percent in the first quarter of 2011 (that
is, from the fourth quarter to the first quarter) according to the "advance" estimate released by the
Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 3.1 percent.
The increase in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from
personal consumption expenditures (PCE), private inventory investment, exports, and nonresidential
fixed investment that were partly offset by negative contributions from federal government spending and
state and local government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP,
The deceleration in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected a sharp upturn in imports, a
deceleration in PCE, a larger decrease in federal government spending, and decelerations in
nonresidential fixed investment and in exports that were partly offset by a sharp upturn in private