Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Calculated Risk: Private Investment and the Business Cycle

Discussions of the business cycle frequently focus on consumer spending (PCE: Personal consumption expenditures), but one key is to watch private domestic investment. Even though private investment usually only accounts for about 15% of GDP, private investment experiences significantly larger swings than PCE during the business cycle and has an outsized impact on GDP. Note: currently private investment is just over 12% of GDP - much lower than normal.

The first graph shows the real annualized change in GDP and private investment since 1960 (this is a 3 quarter centered average to smooth the graph).

GDP has fairly small annualized changes compared to the huge swings in investment, especially during and just following a recession. This is why investment is one of the keys to the business cycle.

Read more...Calculated Risk: Private Investment and the Business Cycle

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