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Technical Note
Gross Domestic Product
Fourth Quarter of 2011(Second Estimate)
February 29, 2012
This technical note provides background information about the source data and estimating methods used
to produce the estimates presented in the GDP news release.  The complete set of estimates for the fourth
quarter is available on BEA's Web site at www.bea.gov; a brief summary of "highlights" is also posted
on the Web site.  In a few weeks, the estimates will be published in BEA's monthly journal, the Survey
of Current Business, along with a more detailed analysis of the estimates ("GDP and the Economy").

Sources of Revision to Real GDP

Real GDP increased 3.0 percent (annual rate) in the fourth quarter, an upward revision of 0.2 percentage
point from the advance estimate.  The upward revision to real GDP reflected an upward revision to
nonresidential fixed investment, a downward revision to imports, and an upward revision to consumer spending.

*       The upward revision to nonresidential fixed investment reflected an upward revision to nonresidential
        structures that was based on newly available Census Bureau construction spending data for December and
        revised data for October and November.
*       The downward revision to imports reflected a downward revision to goods that was based on newly
        available Census goods data for December and revised data for November.
*       The upward revision to consumer spending was more than accounted for by an upward revision to services.
        The largest contributor to the revision was "other" services, specifically cellular phone services,
        based on newly available cellular telephone service provider revenue data for the fourth quarter.

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.1 percent in the fourth quarter, an upward revision
of 0.3 percentage point.  This revision was mostly due to prices for personal consumption expenditures and
reflected revised Bureau of Labor Statistics seasonally adjusted consumer price indexes.


Revisions to Wages and Salaries and Disposable Personal Income

In addition to presenting revised estimates for the fourth quarter, today's release also presents revised
estimates of third-quarter wages and salaries, personal taxes, and contributions for government social
insurance.  Wage and salary disbursements are now estimated to have increased $107.2 billion in the third
quarter of 2011, an upward revision of $82.4 billion.  These estimates reflect newly available wage and
salary tabulations for the third quarter from the BLS quarterly census of employment and wages (QCEW).
These data are more comprehensive than the monthly employment and earnings data that were used for the
earlier estimates—the QCEW data include irregular pay, such as bonuses and gains from the exercise of
stock options.

Real disposable personal income is now estimated to have increased 0.7 percent in the third quarter and 1.4
percent in the fourth.  (By comparison, the estimates that were available last month showed an decrease of
1.9 percent in the third quarter and an increase of 0.8 percent in the fourth.)


Brent R. Moulton
Associate Director for National Economic Accounts
Bureau of Economic Analysis
(202) 606-9606